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WPP CEO says advertisers taking a ‘wait and see’ stance on Musk’s X rebrand

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Mark Read, CEO of WPP, the world's biggest advertising and marketing company,  poses for a portrait at their offices in London

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, the largest global advertising and public relations agency, poses for a portrait at their offices in London, Britain, July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Brands are taking a “wait and see” approach to advertising on social media platform X, the new name for Twitter, until they can understand where owner Elon Musk is taking the company, the CEO of ad group WPP (WPP.L) said on Friday.

Musk unveiled the new name and logo last month, signifying his focus on building an “everything app” with services beyond social media, such as peer-to-peer payments.

The social media firm has endured months of chaos, including thousands of layoffs, criticism over lax content moderation, and an exodus of advertisers who did not want their ads appearing next to inappropriate content since Musk’s takeover in October.

Ad revenue had fallen 50%, Musk said last month.

Mark Read, CEO of the world’s largest ad group WPP (WPP.L), said the re-branding “took people a little bit by surprise”.

“Clients cannot understand where the platform is heading and what its character will be in the future,” he told Reuters after WPP published its first-half results.

“Some clients are dipping their toe back in, but overall I’d describe it as wait and see.”

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Jan Harvey

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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