MIND YOUR P's & Q's. And The Rest of the Alphabet for That Matter

According to a recent story in the WSJ, Tesla got more than a little flummoxed over a single letter and a single number. The story goes that each successive Tesla model would be branded a single letter and over the course of four cars those letters will spell out S-E-X-Y.

At first blush, we confess that we were very skeptical that a person as smart as Musk and as cool and confident a marketer as he is (as evidenced by the extraordinary name he gave his company) would do something as trite as spell out sexy.  But, by all accounts it’s true.

But even this wicked smart marketer was thwarted by a single simple letter. You see, the letter ‘E’ is trademarked in the automotive industry by a company they just surpassed in market cap, Ford. Hard to believe one can register a single letter or a single number but it happens all the time in CarWorld.

Musk’s response to this was to use the number three (3) thinking that perhaps when viewed in a rearview mirror it looked like an ‘E.’ Actually, a pretty sharp and innovative answer per se, but in Autoville, numbers carry a significance far beyond a mere brand name. To car buyers they telegraph either a price class or the latest iteration of an existing model. Neither of which is true for Tesla’s model 3.

This is certainly nothing more than a hiccup for Tesla, but when your profession is naming things, it makes for a fun read.