Last week Elon Musk told business prospects -- in this case major brand advertisers --- to “go f-” themselves.
Imagine what negotiations might be -- separate from any self-serve/programmatic platform buying of X/Twitter advertising inventory --- when it comes to future pricing of those media availabilities.
Who is in the driver's seat?
Linda Yaccarino, chief executive officer of X/Twitter and former senior executive of NBCUniversal's advertising business, might be wondering the same thing.
Does this mean greater leverage -- or less -- for the social-media platform or brands?
This comes amid estimates that even before this occurred, X/Twitter was down 54% in worldwide ad revenues year-over-year.Now other major advertisers have dropped more media plans in the wake of a Musk post in which he sided with an antisemitic view of Jewish people -- something he has apologized for.
Going forward is another story. Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst of Insider Intelligence, sees a different future: “Personally and publicly attacking the advertisers that have kept X alive while the company is in the midst of an ad boycott could be the nail in the coffin for X's ad business.”
While Musk was angry enough to say “go f-yourself” and “don't advertise,” this further pushed into the spotlight Twitter's platform's value against not just other social media platforms, but versus comparisons to linear TV.
Although some may point to weak data around specific return on investment/business outcome results, linear TV might seem even more aligned to advertisers when it comes to “brand safety” issues -- something Yaccarino spent years cultivating at NBCU.
The day after Musk's remarks at the New York Times DealBook event, she posted this: “He also offered an apology, an explanation and an explicit point of view about our position. X is enabling an information independence that's uncomfortable [emphasis added] for some people.”
Some people? Does that include advertising executives?
Perhaps her perspective has changed. Still, we may wonder how the process among her sales staff in making calls this week to ad executives has changed.
As opposed to linear TV, and other media, Enberg says: “It's easier to pull advertising than it is to return, and what makes the X ad boycott unique is that it isn't primarily about content adjacency or moderation.”
She adds: “Twitter isn't an essential ad platform, and it's hard to imagine that advertisers will continue to spend when the company’s owner has explicitly told them not to.”
Let's put this whole episode another way: What if a chief executive officer of a legacy TV-media company used the same words when they had a content-related advertising issue?
Fox's “Married.. With Children” in the late 80s? MTV in the mid-1990s? Fox News Channel in recent years?
Telling advertisers to "f-off" may not be not for everyone. Privately? Executives say it could happen more frequently.
Are we now in a different world? For some. One veteran media-buying agency executive tells TV Watch -- in reference to Musk: “This is a new level, but he lives on a different planet than us.”