GM temporarily suspends advertising on Twitter following Elon Musk takeover
DETROIT – General Motors
The Detroit automaker, a rival to Musk’s Tesla
“We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership. As is normal course of business with a significant change in a media platform, we have temporarily paused our paid advertising. Our customer care interactions on Twitter will continue,” the company said in an emailed statement.
Under CEO Mary Barra, the Detroit company was among the first automakers to announce billions of dollars in spending to better compete against Tesla regarding electric vehicles.
The future direction of Twitter has been at the center of Musk’s takeover of the social media platform. Musk has said he is a “free speech absolutist,” who would restore the account of former President Donald Trump, who was banned over his tweets during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Friday, Musk said he plans a “content moderation council” and will not reinstate any accounts or make major content decisions before it is convened.
Musk also said in a statement to advertisers this week that he cannot let Twitter become a “free for all hellscape.”
Henrik Fisker, CEO of EV startup Fisker
Musk has long boasted that Tesla does not pay for traditional advertising, a cost that has added up for traditional automakers’ brands through the years.
Instead, Tesla rewards people who run, or are members of, Tesla owners’ clubs as well as other social media influencers who promote the company’s products, stock and Musk on social networks, especially Twitter and YouTube as well as on fan blogs.
They are often granted early access to Tesla products, like the company’s Full Self Driving Beta software, and given passes to Tesla events where attendance is limited.
In September 2020, Tesla weighed a stockholder proposal to begin strategic, paid advertising to educate the public about its vehicles and charging network. The Tesla board recommended against it, and shareholders voted with the board against starting to pay for traditional ad campaigns.
In the company’s annual report for 2021, Tesla wrote: “Historically, we have been able to generate significant media coverage of our company and our products, and we believe we will continue to do so. Such media coverage and word of mouth are the current primary drivers of our sales leads and have helped us achieve sales without traditional advertising and at relatively low marketing costs.”
It reported marketing, promotional and advertising costs that were immaterial for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019 in financial filings with the SEC.
– CNBC’s John Rosevear contributed to this report.