It’s not every day that a prominent business owner tells its revenue suppliers to “go f— [themselves],” but that’s exactly what Elon Musk said to X advertisers yesterday during The New York Times’ DealBook Summit — not once but three times (the latter instance using the acronym “GFY”). This came just shortly after Musk apologized for having endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory two weeks ago — an action that triggered (even more) major brands to pull their advertising spend from X.
Advertisers Are Not To Blame For The Acceleration Of X’s End
The day Elon Musk announced his intent to acquire Twitter marked the actual beginning of the platform’s end. In the 13 months since Musk took over (a deal he tried to back out of), the company has been decimated: its brand, its revenue, and its valuation.
Musk blamed advertisers and their boycott as the reason for what “is going to kill the company.” But let’s be clear: Advertisers aren’t responsible for X’s demise — they are not beholden to any one channel, platform, or person. They will invest their media budgets in brand-safe environments that perform, and they will divest those dollars when necessary. They have neither obligation nor culpability to keep X afloat.
The blame for the state of X lies at the top of the company: Musk’s own choices continue to devolve X’s business — piece by piece. His crass message to advertisers will only drive more revenue out the door — revenue that the company needs given the company’s heavy debt load. How much more runway Musk gives X is anyone’s guess. But if his comments yesterday are an indication of anything, it’s that an end for X is in sight.
Forrester clients: Let’s chat more about this via a Forrester guidance session.