Takeover of Twitter: Elon Musk “trolls” until the end

After asking his 108 million followers last week to vote on the desirable outcome of the war in Ukraine, then after supporting China – a country in which he has significant economic interests – against Taiwan, provoking a crisis diplomatic, Elon Musk suddenly becomes a perfume salesman to “help him buy Twitter”.

The richest man in the world, also boss of Tesla and SpaceX, has launched a campaign on his favorite social network encouraging his fans to buy his perfume, entitled Burnt Hair – The Essence of Repugnant Desire, or, in French, “Hair Burnt – The Essence of Repulsive Desire”. ” Please buy my perfume, so I can buy Twitter “, he quipped in a tweet.

Two million dollars in sales in three days!

A joke of course … Except that, as usual, Elon Musk took the joke to the end. The businessman, whose personal fortune is estimated at $220 billion per Forbes in 2022, really launched a marketing campaign of its perfume. The marketing and communication teams of his company The Boring Company – which finances tunnel projects under cities to solve traffic jams – have developed a bottle incorporating the aesthetic codes of luxury perfumery, created a dedicated Internet page, and opened sales. . Each bottle is sold for $100.

And it works. Sunday October 9, Elon Musk announced the upcoming launch of Burnt Hair. Three days later, Wednesday October 12, the multi-billionaire entrepreneur announced 5,000 sales. An improbable success which triggered the snowball effect and the interest of the media for good. Later that same day, Elon Musk doubled the bet: “ 10,000 bottles of Burnt Hair sold! he boasted, while mocking the inevitable media coverage that this marketing feat would engender, despite the excess of associating a perfume with unpleasant odors such as that of burnt hair or the word “repugnant”.

And it wasn’t over. On Wednesday evening -5am in France this Thursday- Elon Musk announced the crossing of the threshold of 20,000 bottles sold. That’s 15,000 in a single day! And a jackpot in perspective: the good joke has therefore already brought him 2 million dollars in turnover in three days, including 1.5 million for the single day of Wednesday, October 12. “With a name like mine, getting into the perfume business was inevitable – why did I even fight it for so long!?“, did he laugh on his favorite social network.

Of course, this perfume does not yet exist. Elon Musk has never even shown any interest in the perfumery business, preferring to innovate in the fields of finance (PayPal), transport (Tesla, Hyperloop, The Boring Company), space (SpaceX), energy (Powerwall) or in humans augmented by artificial intelligence (Neuralink, OpenAI). With undeniable success for most of his projects that seemed crazy when he launched them.

But The Boring Company announces that those who have paid will receive a real product, which will be delivered in the first quarter of 2023. His company therefore has less than five months to create a perfume from scratch, industrialize its production and deliver to more than 20,000 customers. And probably much more given the virality of orders.

The “troll”, a weapon of destabilization erected into a strategy in the Twitter file

The businessman is expected to reach an agreement to buy the social network for 44 billion dollars by the end of the month, failing which a trial must take place in November. He had made an acquisition offer accepted by Twitter at the end of April, before seeking to extract himself from it unilaterally at the beginning of July. The platform filed a complaint and Elon Musk finally assured last week that the transaction was really going to take place, in a twist that was interpreted as his desire to avoid being forced into a takeover by the court.

It would be wrong to see in this schoolboy initiative a simple joke or new proof of Elon Musk’s incredible ability to make money rain around him. Launching a perfume on the pretext of helping him finance his takeover of Twitter is in fact only the latest episode, and not necessarily the craziest, of a strategy of destabilization which has been Elon Musk’s trademark since the start in the Twitter folder.

Provocation, the element of surprise and the mobilization of his huge community of 108 million followers around the world are Elon Musk’s main weapons to draw attention to himself and push his personal agenda, whether he act of his political opinions – on the border of the most right-wing republican movement and the libertarian movement -, and of his economic interests – pressure on the American government concerning its support for Tesla and the electrification of the automotive sector, contracts in the space, China…

As long as the takeover is not signed, the situation may change

From the start, Elon Musk has used the “troll” (a term from web culture designating an Internet user who seeks controversy and provocation) as his main communication tool and weapon of destabilizing the adversary. In the days preceding his first announcement of his rise in the capital of Twitter, Musk multiplied the extremely aggressive attacks against the social network and its management, accusing it in particular of attacks on freedom of expression or of malfunctioning, weakening the reputation. of the company. Cause and effect link or not, his rise in capital was welcomed by the markets, the entrepreneur enjoying a strong capital of confidence to transform economic sectors, as he has already done with Tesla in the electric vehicle or with SpaceX in space.

Hardly had the takeover deal for 44 billion dollars been recorded at the end of April, when Musk broke all the rules of the normal operation of an acquisition, again criticizing his future company extensively, an unprecedented behavior in the history of mergers / acquisitions. Defamed but desperately wanting to be bought off, Twitter therefore endured for two months various and varied criticisms of Elon Musk, without ever bothering to put forward solid proof, on his moderation or on what will become his hobbyhorse to do cancel the sale: the number of fake accounts.

The multi-billionaire entrepreneur even responded to a very long thread from Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, explaining his methodology for calculating the number of fake accounts, with a simple poop emoji. In recent months, Musk has also published a profusion of memes [images humoristiques détournées] mocking Twitter, in the purest tradition of troll social networks, while the entrepreneur is one of the richest and most powerful personalities in the world.

If Elon Musk buys Twitter well as he has committed to it for the second time, this kind of provocations aimed at mobilizing his community on everything and anything – the war in Ukraine, the situation in Taiwan, the purchase of a product…- risks becoming commonplace.

Man’s unpredictability is such that the bear’s skin should certainly not be sold before it has been killed: as long as the redemption is not signed, normally before the end of the month, everything can still arrive with Elon Musk.