Elon Musk and His New Age Marketing Strategy

Known for his innovative ideas and bold statements, Elon Musk has once again captured the world’s attention.

This time, he’s taking a stand for freedom of speech, pledging to fund legal bills for those unfairly treated by their employers due to social media activity.

This is more than just a generous offer. It’s a brilliant marketing move for Twitter growth that’s sparking a revolution against cancel culture.

Let’s take a look at Musk’s move and explore its impact on not only marketing, but modern society.

Yaniv Masjedi
CMO, Nextiva

Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business

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Elon Musk’s Pledge to Fund Legal Bills

Anyone who’s active on social media knows that what you post can affect your livelihood, so Elon Musk’s recent announcement is a game-changer.

He has declared that if anyone is unfairly treated by their employer due to posting or liking something on social media, he will fund their legal bill. This move has garnered 118.4 million views (and counting!).

On one hand, this is a stand for justice; but on the other hand, it’s a smart marketing strategy that reflects the power of viral marketing.

This post has created a buzz, and it’s clear that Musk is willing to do what it takes to make sure his platform thrives.

The Light and Dark of Cancel Culture

Cancel culture is a fairly recent term used to describe the practice of withdrawing support for (or canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. This can include boycotting their work, calling for them to be fired or trying to get them banned from social media.

The term “cancel culture” originated in the 2010s but really took off in the early 2020s, thanks to the rise of social media. It’s easier for people to share information and opinions quickly and widely on social, but it’s also easier for people to organize boycotts and other forms of protest.

One example of cancel culture is the case of Kevin Hart. In 2018, Hart was set to host the Oscars, but he was forced to step down after old tweets of his resurfaced in which he made homophobic jokes. Hart apologized for the tweets, but he was still heavily criticized by people who demanded that he be canceled.

Cancel culture has been both praised and criticized:


  • Cancel culture can hold public figures accountable for their actions.
  • It can help to raise awareness of important social issues.
  • It can empower people to speak out against injustice.


  • Cancel culture can be used to silence dissenting voices.
  • It can lead to mob mentality and witch hunts.
  • It is a form of online bullying and can have a negative impact on people’s mental health.

These days, online activity can affect one’s corporate success. We’ve seen incidents like “Central Park Karen” and the case of “Libs of TikTok,” where individuals were fired for their online behavior.

These examples illustrate how rules and societal norms are changing, leading to a broader conversation about freedom of speech and the complexities of cancel culture in today’s society.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 that states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”


This is what Elon Musk is fighting for. He’s making a bold statement that he will say what he wants on the platform and protect freedom of speech.

The Lack of Purpose: A Societal Shift Affecting Marketing

Musk’s announcement resonates with many who feel that the lack of purpose and ambition in society is leading to a rise in various causes and problems. People are latching onto causes because they are losing their purpose.

The lack of ambition is causing problems, and this is leading to a unique societal shift that has profound implications for marketing.

Here’s how society is affecting marketing:

  • The search for meaning. People are no longer being “chased by lions,” as they were in primitive times. The basic survival needs are met for many, and the lack of immediate threats has led to a search for meaning and purpose. This search often manifests in latching onto various social causes.
  • The rise of social causes. The absence of a clear purpose has led to a rise in social activism. People are aligning themselves with causes (environmental, social, political, etc.) that resonate with their values and beliefs – or simply to fill a void in the absence of purpose. These causes provide a sense of belonging and meaning.
  • Impact on consumer behavior. This alignment with causes is not just a personal matter; it’s affecting consumer behavior. Brands that align with or support specific causes are attracting loyal customers. Conversely, those that are perceived to be against certain values are facing backlash.

Understanding this shift is vital for marketers. The traditional methods of marketing that focus solely on the product or service are no longer sufficient. Businesses are being called on to stand for values and causes that resonate with their target audience and align their strategies accordingly.

Although this shift presents opportunities for brands to connect on a deeper level with consumers, it also poses challenges. Saying the “wrong” thing or perceived insincerity can lead to a negative brand image.

That’s why it’s essential to understand the complex landscape of social causes before aligning with them. Taking a stand on divisive issues certainly may be the right thing, but it also may be risky. It’s wise for each brand or individual to weigh the potential benefits against the risks.

Smart Marketing Strategy: Free Marketing Until Payment

Elon Musk is no stranger to bold moves and innovative projects:


That’s why his recent pledge to fund legal bills for those unfairly treated by their employers due to social media activity is not just a noble act; it’s a marketing masterstroke.

Here’s why this move – enjoying free marketing until payment – is considered a smart brand strategy, and how it’s promoting growth for his platform:

  • Viral Impact. With a staggering 118.4 million views (and counting!), Elon’s announcement has gone viral. The sheer number of views ensures that the message reaches a vast audience, creating a buzz that traditional marketing campaigns might struggle to achieve.
  • Aligning with Values. By taking a stand for justice and freedom of speech, Elon is aligning his platform with values that resonate with many. This alignment not only creates a positive brand image, but also attracts users who share these values.
  • Cost-Effective Approach. Traditional marketing campaigns can be expensive and time-consuming. Elon’s pledge, on the other hand, is essentially free marketing until he has to pay any legal bills. Even then, the costs may be minimal compared to the publicity gained.
  • Leveraging Personal Brand. Musk’s personal brand is synonymous with innovation and bold moves. By leveraging his personal brand, he’s adding credibility to the pledge and enhancing the appeal of his platform.
  • Creating a Community. The pledge is not just about attracting users; it’s about building a community. By standing up for users’ rights, Elon is fostering a sense of trust and loyalty, essential for community building.
  • Strategic Timing. In a world where cancel culture is a hot topic, the timing of this announcement is strategic. It taps into ongoing debates and discussions, ensuring relevance and engagement.
  • Potential Risks and Rewards. The strategy may be brilliant, but it’s not without risks. The commitment to fund legal bills could lead to unforeseen expenses. However, the potential rewards in terms of brand loyalty, user growth and positive public perception probably outweigh the risks.

How Marketers Can Adapt Socially

In a world where social media is king and consumers are more socially conscious than ever before (or certainly more vocal about it), it is important for businesses and marketers to adapt their strategies to the changing social climate.

Here are a few tips:

  • Understand the current climate. The first step to adapting socially is to understand the current social landscape. What are the major social and political issues that are top of mind for consumers? What are the prevailing values and beliefs? Once you’re clear about a particular cause or the general social climate, you can tailor your (authentic) marketing strategies accordingly.
  • Take a stand. Consumers are increasingly looking for brands that align with their values. In order to connect with your target audience on a deeper level, you’ll likely need to take a stand on one or more social issues that are important to you. Don’t agree with everyone (that comes off as insincere), but do be willing to share your point of view and have honest conversations.
  • Be authentic. In today’s world, consumers can spot a fake a mile away. If you want to be successful, you need to be authentic in your marketing. This means being true to your brand values and not trying to be something you’re not.
  • Leveraging influence. In today’s social media-driven world, influence is everything. As a prominent figure, Musk’s words carry weight. Leveraging influence to promote positive change or take a stand on important issues can be a powerful way to adapt socially.
  • Be mindful of cultural sensitivities. What’s acceptable in one culture may not be in another, so be mindful of cultural sensitivities when marketing your brand to a global audience.
  • Learn from mistakes. No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. The essential thing is to learn from your mistakes, make amends, and continually evolve your marketing strategies.
  • Balancing business and social responsibility. It’s important to strike a balance between business objectives and social responsibility. Don’t just focus on making money; be aware of the impact your brand has on society.

Here are a couple brands that have stood up against cancel culture in recent years:

  • Nike took a stand against racism in 2018 by featuring Colin Kaepernick in a commercial. This was a controversial move, but it paid off for Nike. They had a surge in sales and became even more popular with consumers who aligned with Nike’s and Kaepernick’s beliefs.
  • In 2021, Netflix was criticized after releasing the comedy special “Dave Chappelle: The Closer.” In the show, Chappelle made jokes about transgender people, which some people found offensive. But Netflix refused to pull the special, and instead defended Chappelle’s right to free speech. The company’s CEO, Reed Hastings, said that it was “important to have a diversity of voices.”

Dave Chappelle

These and many brands were criticized for standing up against cancel culture. However, they also received praise from consumers who appreciated the companies for defending their values. These examples show that it is possible for brands to stand up against cancel culture and still be successful.

There are always valuable marketing lessons to learn. By taking a stand on issues that were important to them and being authentic about what they said or did, these brands have been able to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

What We Can Learn from Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s recent pledge to fund legal bills is a multifaceted marketing strategy that touches on Twitter growth, cancel culture, freedom of speech, and how to adapt socially. It’s certainly a reflection of the times we live in and a lesson about using social media for maximum impact.

Whether you agree with Musk’s views or not, there’s no denying the brilliance of his approach from a marketing point of view. It’s a strategy that goes beyond mere publicity; his actions serve as a reminder to businesses and individuals alike to stay aware, adapt, and innovate in the ever-changing realm of online interaction.

If you’re ready to amplify your online presence, Single Grain’s marketing strategy experts can help!👇

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