Elon Musk’s Twitter Rebrand Could Broaden Advertiser Exodus

Since Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion last year he has been intent on bringing some sweeping changes to the platform. Musk moved quickly after taking over to get rid of the blue check system, replacing it with a multi-colored model and putting those blue checks up for sale at $8 per month. 

Musk cut a huge chunk of Twitter’s staff, specifically slimming down content moderation teams, and increased prior limits on longer videos. Most recently, Twitter imposed rate limits on its users; un-subscribed users have a much lower limit than their subscribed peers. And dealing with a negative cash flow, debt and a 50% drop in ad revenue, Twitter rolled out an ad revenue-sharing program to its creators. 

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In his latest bid to transform the micro-blogging site into a super app comparable with WeChat, Musk officially killed Twitter over the weekend. The platform is now called X. 

“X is the future state of unlimited interactivity — centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking — creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities,” Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino said. “Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine.”

i remember in GCSE business we watched a documentary about the failures of coke rebranding to new coke. i just know this rebrand to X is gonna go crazy in exam questions in 15 years https://t.co/mq4wYz3LdY

— ben🚩 (@1892Ben) July 24, 2023

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Users haven’t taken very kindly to this radical rebranding. While some are excited about the potential of a coming super app, others have criticized a rebrand that has buried one of the most well-known global brands, with some likening it to Coca-Cola’s failed “New Coke” rebrand in 1985. 

This is some of the emptiest happy-talk corporate-speak, and it comes from a CEO who isn’t really a CEO at all.

It makes exactly zero sense to toss away Twitter’s brand equity (shrunken though it has been through Elmo’s actions) — even “New Coke” kept “Coke” in the name. https://t.co/44wB0rSs99

— Greg Castanias (@GregCastanias) July 24, 2023

And with advertisers already wary of a platform that could tarnish brand security due to its minimalist approach to content moderation, the timing of this rebrand couldn’t be much worse. 

“I’m struggling with rebranding Twitter to X and losing the little blue bird’s brand equity. Today everything works together — we tweet or re-tweet on Twitter and the blue bird reinforces that Twitter is the best platform to announce big events,” Gary Black, the managing partner of the Future Fund, tweeted. “Advertisers who dislike change may wait to see how the branding change impacts advertising efficacy.”

Imagine buying Twitter, one of the most recognizable brands in the world—your logo is on nearly every website, product packaging, business card, storefront you can imagine—and you decide to just throw all that away and call it “X.”

This is the New Coke of our generation.

— Jon-Stephen Stansel (@jsstansel) July 23, 2023

Dan Ives, Wedbush’s leading tech analyst, expressed some cautious excitement over the coming transition to Musk’s super app. But, like Black, Ives thinks the rebrand is a “risky move.”

“Losing the iconic world-renowned bird logo is a risky move from a branding perspective we believe,” he tweeted

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