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Linda Yaccarino, the chief executive of X, formerly known as Twitter, is reinstating its “client council”, an invitation-only group of marketing and advertising agency executives, in the latest bid to rebuild brand relationships that were shattered after Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform.
Yaccarino will announce the decision to bring back the client council this autumn on Thursday during her first live television interview since taking the CEO position several months ago, the company said. The platform has not determined who will be in the revived network.
Silicon Valley social media platforms such as Meta have long created clubby forums to help bring in advertising dollars, typically giving top spenders an inside look at up-and-coming products, seeking their advice on thorny issues and making reassurances around “brand safety” — an industry term referring to the risk that ads appear alongside problematic content and misinformation.
Before Musk’s takeover, X had a client council that would meet several times a year. The meetings were attended by several dozen to one hundred marketing executives from big brands, as well as heads of buying at advertising agencies, according to people familiar with the matter.
When Musk bought the platform for $44bn in October, the council met one last time in early November. Advertisers there raised concerns about brand safety after the billionaire made the decision to loosen content moderation policies and cut the jobs of many moderators and sales workers.
One person who attended said Musk seemed unhappy with the questions, and shortly after, X ceased to communicate with the longstanding group.
Its revival comes as Yaccarino, the former advertising head at NBCUniversal, continues a charm offensive to bring back advertisers, many of whom have left the platform over Musk’s unorthodox leadership style and moderation changes. The company’s advertising revenue has fallen by about 50 per cent since Musk took over and the platform still has negative cash flow, according to Musk.
So far Yaccarino, who has a reputation for deep relationships with advertisers, has had some success, enticing several big companies such as Mondelez to return and launching new brand safety controls.
She also met talent agents at Creative Artists Agency and United Talent Agency as well as A-list celebrities in Hollywood last month, as the platform tries to win high-profile entertainers to boost engagement.
However, many advertising and media industry executives are sceptical that she can present her vision without interference from Musk, which could undermine her reputation.
Some noted her absence from the sudden rebranding announcement to users from Musk last month, when he said Twitter would lose its well-known bird logo and become “X”.
She later wrote on the platform: “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.”