Food Brands Pause Twitter Advertising

The Lempert Report
November 15, 2022

On today’s bullseye food brands pause their advertising on Twitter. There has been a lot reported on Elon Musk and Twitter and how major advertisers on the platform have paused their advertising spend as they wait to see what the new Twitter looks like – and how its voice may change. “We have paused advertising on Twitter,” a spokesperson for General Mills told CNN. Separately, the Wall Street Journal was told by the cereal maker, “We will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend.” CNN also reported that Interpublic Group, a global buyer of advertising for clients that include Unilever and Coca Cola, recommended its clients pause advertising on the platform. In a tweet, Musk acknowledged the advertising loss:“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.” While it is easy for these brands and agencies to point a finger at Musk and the uncertainty of the platform’s future – but I have to wonder if it’s a convenient excuse. Don’t get me wrong – I am not a fan of Musk’s , nor of his own use of Twitter to propagate untruths now and in the past – but the question I have to ask is whether these agencies and the brands they represent were actually getting their money’s worth from Twitter even before Musk. Advertising is all about reach and frequency sure – and in many ways Twitter has been able to deliver those – but what about moving product off supermarket shelves? We know that sampling woks. That coupons and promotions move product. And mass media – like TV and radio are also powerful media that sell foods. But social media has always had questionable metrics. Perhaps it’s because the channels are so large that it’s tough to point to any one of them and say that it sold products. I was on a call last week with grocery retailers who have been using social media to promote events and they all agreed that organic social did little to move the needle and a few said that paid social posting actually did have an effect – but not what they had hoped for. If social – including Twitter – wants food brands – they have to sell product. TikTok has done an extraordinary job in not only supporting the sale of foods both in supermarkets and in restaurants – but the company has gone out of their way to publicize the success. If Elon Musk truly want to make Twitter successful, it’s not about firing half its workforce. It’s proving to brands that are fleeing the platform that it can actually sell cars, insurance and foods.