IPG's Mediabrands is recommending that brands pause all of their ads on Twitter until concerns around brand safety can be assessed in the wake of Elon Musk taking over the company.
The agency sent an email to clients this week sharing its view on Twitter, which raised questions about the safety of having ads appear on the platform while it is going through a seemingly rocky transition, following Musk's $44 billion purchase of the company last week.
“Given the current situation at Twitter, we recommend a temporary pause on all current paid media activity there. Mediabrands will review this recommendation on an ongoing basis and provide timely client guidance,” said the Mediabrands memo, a copy of which was obtained by Ad Age. “To be clear, this is not a recommendation for a permanent pause, however we feel it is the most pragmatic approach for advertisers while Musk’s plans at Twitter unfold over the next few days and while our teams and internet safety experts are able to collect more information.”
A person familiar with Mediabrands’ outreach to brands said the recommendation was for an ad pause on Twitter for a week, “until they have more clarity on Twitter’s plans for trust and safety,” this person said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The memo outlines the litany of brand safety concerns that have surfaced in the past few days regarding Musk. Advertisers had been bracing for some turbulence since the billionaire started the process of buying Twitter, but his brief stint at the top has not seemed to ease concerns. Mediabrands pointed clients to reports about an uptick in racist slurs on Twitter in the past week. Black leaders, including NBA star and media titan LeBron James, posted on Twitter that the rise in hate speech was “scary AF.” (James' entertainment company and brand consultancy SpringHill Company earlier this year announced a joint venture with IPG that gives the agency holding company access to SpringHill's diverse lineup of creators.)
The concern for brands is that Musk’s ownership has emboldened trolls and accounts that spew hate.
Meanwhile, Musk didn’t do himself any favors over the weekend by tweeting a false story about the attack at Nancy Pelosi’s home, which Mediabrands also referenced. “Musk’s own tweets would not be considered brand safe or adjacency appropriate,” the agency's memo said.
Morning Brew's Ryan Barwick tweeted about IPG's recommended ad freeze this morning.