Twitter is still seeking ad partners for the World Cup, as the tournament heads into its final stretch. It is yet another example of how the platform's beleaguered ad team is having a hard time winning back advertisers after the sudden drop-off of major brands that have fled in the Elon Musk era.
“The fact that we’re seeing last-minute package opportunities being sent over to us for World Cup from Twitter is pretty surprising for a like landmark sports event like that,” said one top executive at one of Twitter’s closet media holding company partners.
The holding company, one of the largest in the world, said that almost none of its clients are on Twitter, and they are part of the wave of brands pausing their spending on Twitter amid a confusing time at the company. By all measures, Twitter should be having a triumphant moment around the World Cup, but advertisers say the company seems almost desperate to offload inventory.
Twitter's World Cup troubles with brands could create worries about other real-time marketing events like the Super Bowl.
Related: See this year's World Cup ads
If anywhere is the “real-time” advertising channel, it’s Twitter, where marketers participate in the live conversation around big cultural moments. What’s happened, however, since Musk took over is pure chaos, the holding company exec said, echoing the sentiments of many advertising leaders. There have been well-documented problems at Twitter with its advertising offering in recent weeks, including sending out aggressive pitches to brands that stopped spending amid brand safety concerns. Twitter, with its new head of ad sales Chris Riedy, has been offering basically two-for-one deals on ads, looking to unload advertising on the cheap.
“They’re pretty heavily discounted packages to get into the World Cup-related content,” the holding company exec said, “and that is rare at this stage in the game, to have-last minute opportunities like that, on something that would be viewed as a premium event.”