Should you have tuned in to this year’s Super Bowl in California, Delaware, Michigan, or Washington D.C., a series of commercials concerning Tesla might have caught your attention.
Contrary to popular belief, the commercials were not promoting Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company. In fact, they specifically urged viewers to “Abstain from using Tesla.”
If you missed these commercials or are situated outside of the aforementioned regions, Delaware News Hub has included the two Tesla commercials below.
The commercials were produced by The Dawn Project, an organization which lists “Ensuring Computers’ Safety for Humanity” as its website’s motto. The Dawn Project has consistently aimed its critiques at Tesla in recent years. The website currently predominantly emphasizes its Tesla criticism in addition to showcasing its two Super Bowl commercials.
This group is supported by tech entrepreneur Dan O’Dowd, a long-standing critic of Tesla himself.
As per the Washington Post, O’Dowd spent half a million dollars to broadcast the “Abstain from using Tesla” commercials in the targeted markets.
The ‘Abstain from using Tesla’ commercials are truly impactful
If this all seems familiar, that’s because O’Dowd and The Dawn Project ran anti-Tesla commercials during last year’s Super Bowl as well. The commercials last year focused on findings which revealed that Tesla’s autonomous driving software led to the car disregarding school bus stop signs and colliding with child-sized crash test dummies.
However, this time, The Dawn Project did not have to refer to a test scenario. Merely two months after last year’s commercial aired, the same school bus scenario unfolded in reality when a Tesla using Autopilot hit a 17-year-old in North Carolina as he was disembarking his bus. The school bus had its stop sign out and flashing lights on. The Dawn Project highlights this incident in one of its two Super Bowl commercials for this year.
The second commercial from The Dawn Project is even more impactful as it directs viewers’ attention to the Tesla owner’s manual, which specifies safe areas for Autopilot engagement.
“Tesla evades responsibility in Autopilot accidents by referencing a note deep within the owner’s manual which states that Autopilot is only safe on highways,” remarks the commercial, pointing out how the government had requested Tesla to limit Autopilot usage exclusively to highways.
“Surprisingly, Tesla declined,” states the commercial, referencing the government’s request. The Super Bowl commercial then goes on to cite fatal accidents involving Tesla vehicles that were using Autopilot at the time of the collision.
Fans of Tesla frequently question O’Dowd’s credibility by bringing up his business partnership with another company, Mobileye, which develops competing autonomous driving software. The Washington Post previously reported that his “motivation is driven purely by his concerns about the safety of Tesla’s tech.”
Irrespective of the messenger’s intentions, The Dawn Project’s commercials refer to real-life, verifiable events. And “Abstain from using Tesla” is the organization’s rebuttal to a company that seemingly disregards safety protocols.