Brill Media

Elon Musk Tells Advertisers “Go F Yourself”

Elon Musk Tells Advertisers “Go F Yourself”

Elon Musk told advertisers “Go F yourself”, referencing recent waves of brands stopping their advertising on Musk’s X platform. 

The ad world is in shock, and there is no bigger loser in this equation than Linda Yacarrino, X’s newly minted CEO. By all accounts in the advertising business she comes with a great reputation for being an upstanding citizen, great at her job, and full of fruitful relationships.

This event made me reconsider it’s a bad idea to advertise on X. It’s not the langauge, nor this one event, but a number of thiungs piling up for Musk’s X. Most recently he was accused of supporting anti-semetic tweets, support right-leaning consipracy theories, and generally making decisions not becoming of someone with such massive influence.

Does advertising on Twitter hurt the Brill Media brand, or our clients’ brands? The large advertisers make a strong case for why X should not be supported with advertising. 

But is this the last nail in the coffin for X?

Many people in the advertising business think so. But I’m not sure I agree. The case against X is simple. It has poor leadership. The content and environment is chaotic. Its leader espouses ideas that are contrary to the brand values and personal values of many advertising decision makers. People are verbally attacked on the platform. The anonymity creates opportunities for unhinged vitriol against anyone you disagree with. State and non-state bad actors use the platform to change sow dis-information among large swaths of the population. There is election interference, and the ideas on X seep into the larger population.

By contrast people look at the platform as symbol of freedom of expression in the United States and the world. Sure, there are some bad actors, but the bad outweighs the good. There’s no better platform for people in every walk of life to connect in real time. Technology, finance, crypto, politics and business users make connects that would otherwise be very hard to replicate. With the right curation of your newsfeed Twitter can be an incredible place to freely learn from experts. We have even generated direct business from Twitter in 2016 and 2017 by showing up. People across the world use X to engage in life changing, and world changing activities. When there’s unrest and rebellion, X is one of the most reliable communications platforms. The platform is often targeted by governments to be shut off during rebellion precisely because of its unfettered communication ability. 

I don’t think this is the nail in the coffin for X. Consumers will still use the platform. People earning value from it will continue to use it. The news cycle will move on to different topics. Direct response advertisers and people who support Musk’s ideas will continue to advertise. This is not the end for X, but Musk isn’t helping himself succeed. 

Linda Yaccarino took the biggest job, and unfortunately, her boss is not interested in setting her up for success. It seems her role is to be the cleanup lady for the boss.

The next steps for X. Musk is transforming the business. I don’t think it looks good right now. But I suspect his vision is to turn X into a super app, similar to the Chinese super apps Ali Pay and WeChat. Expect to see an all-in one communication, entertainment, lifestyle, and financial application meant to be at the heart of a person’s everyday life. 

History will tell whether X is destined to be a private company, a utility, a new breed of US super app, or something entirely else. Maybe in the year 2070 X will be the exclusive communications hub between Earth and Mars.

In the meantime we’ll duke it out here on Earth. 


Below are tweets expressing both positive and negative perspectives on the issue:



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