PR Roundup: Mr. Musk Goes to Cannes, Ogilvy and CeraVe’s Grand Prix and Most Trusted Brands

Elon Musk is a businessman and founder of space company SpaceX and automotive company Tesla, Inc.

This week's PR Roundup discusses Elon Musk's olive branch to advertisers at Cannes, Ogilvy's big Cannes win and a thorough report from Morning Consult on the most trusted brands in the United States.

Musk Goes to Cannes to Woo Advertisers Back to X

What happened: It’s been about seven months since Elon Musk told potential X (formerly known as Twitter) advertisers to “Go F—” themselves during a live chat at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit. The statement came during a rocky time period for X, as advertisers pulled dollars out of the platform due to Musk’s endorsement of anti-Semitic posts and the appearance of ads next to white nationalist hashtags.

But now Musk seems to have warmed back up to the advertising community. He appeared onstage at The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity during a chat with Mark Read, CEO of WPP. Read asked Musk about the controversial interview, to which he seemed to walk back his words.

“Advertisers have a right to appear next to content that they find compatible with their brands,” Musk said to Read and the audience. “What is not cool is insisting that there can be no content that they disagree with on the platform.”

He also noted his occasional lack of interview savvy and acknowledged his non-existent PR team.

“I do shoot myself in the foot from time to time, but at least you know it is genuine, not from the PR department.”

The New York Times reported Musk met with well-known brands at Cannes, including the NFL and Target, while his counterpart, CEO Linda Yaccarino appeared on the Axios’ Women’s Sports House stage to discuss more live sports initiatives and entertainment on the platform.

Communication takeaways: Musk’s wayward actions and outbursts as the face of X/Twitter does no favors for him when it comes to cementing trust with advertisers. However, The Times reported thousands attending his talk at Cannes—the perfect target audience—to hear messaging directly from the horse’s mouth.

Ashley Wallace Jones, VP of Integrated Marketing at PAN Communications, says whether or not Musk’s strategy to speak directly to advertisers succeeds remains to be seen.

“Musk has made the attempt to re-engage advertisers, which is a good first step, but it may take a bit more show than tell to start rebuilding the trust that’s been lost,” Wallace Jones says.

“Overall, while some advertisers and influencers may cautiously increase their spending on X over time, it's likely that many will adopt a wait-and-see approach. The response is likely to be gradual rather than a sudden influx of advertising dollars.”

Wallace Jones says in her experience, she needs some proof before committing significant budgets to the platform.

“I need to observe consistent, longer-term changes and transparency in platform policies, user engagement, and Musk's behavior. Time will tell.”

Ogilvy PR Wins Grand Prix Cannes Award for CeraVe’s “Michael CeraVe”

What happened: And with Cannes in full swing, the festival is delving out its prestigious awards for excellence in creativity. And if you are looking for a prime example of influencers making an impact, the CeraVe campaign is one to remember.

This week Ogilvy announced its reception of the Grand Prix for Social & Influencer with its memorable “Michael CeraVe” campaign created by WPP Onefluence, and led by Ogilvy PR New York, in the Multi-Platform Social Campaign category. The campaign also won Gold Lions for Social & Influencer in the Innovative Use of Creators, Influencers or Celebrities category and for Media in the Innovative Use of Influencers/Creators category.

According to Ogilvy "Michael CeraVe" was a “first-of-its-kind immersive campaign that planted and spread a conspiracy, only to be debunked on America’s biggest advertising stage—a Super Bowl Sunday commercial. The three-week campaign showed CeraVe as “developed by Michael Cera” to the real product truth—that CeraVe is developed with dermatologists.

Communication takeaways: Lining up a well-known, yet unlikely celebrity influencer, can be a risky choice. Think about Martha Stewart and CBD gummies or Tom Brady and crypto.

However, Charlotte Tansill, President of Ogilvy PR, Social & Influence says when done thoroughly and creatively, brands can succeed.

“By putting earned-first thinking at the forefront of this campaign, and ensuring PR, social and influencer worked in concert at every stage, we were able to drive an entirely new kind of Super Bowl experience that educated around a product truth while being wildly entertaining,” she says.

Morning Consult Releases Most Trusted Brands Report

What happened: Last week Morning Consult released its fifth annual Most Trusted Brands report, and trust is the most coveted currency in the PR industry. Morning Consult says its rankings come from measuring net trust: the share that trust a brand minus the share that say they distrust a brand.

This year, the business intelligence company says it expanded rankings to include more brands than before, while “drilling down into the demographic variables that shape trust in the United States—specifically gender and generation.”

The top five most trusted brands were Band-Aid, UPS, Google, Lysol and Dove.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Most of the 25 Most Trusted Brands come from just four industries: personal and household products, food products, retailers and shipping and logistics.

  • Gen Z is tougher to win over than other generations: Gen Z’s average net trust score (10.4) for all brands surveyed is more than 10 points lower than any other generation.

  • TikTok is one of the most generationally divisive brands: The social media app is the brand both millennials and Gen Z trust the most relative to the general population, as Gen X and Boomers have more negative perceptions.

  • Google and Amazon standout in a list dominated by non-tech brands: 22 of the top 25 Most Trusted Brands are not tech brands, making Google and Amazon’s inclusion notable.

  • Gen Z’s top five trusted brands include Band-Aid, Google, YouTube, CVS and Dove.

  • Millennials’ top five include: Google, Band-Aid, Dove, YouTube and PayPal.

  • Boomers’ top five include: Band-Aid, UPS, Kleenex, Ace Hardware and Campbells.

The report also shows the most trusted brands among men and women as well as other brands that stood out amongst each group in comparison to other demographics.

Read the entire report at Morning Consult.

Nicole Schuman is Managing Editor for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal