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Volkswagen, Pfizer and now, General Mills taps the brakes as the advertiser break widens

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker, has partnered with Pfizer Inc. and General Mills Inc. temporarily stopped advertising on Twitter.

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker, joined Pfizer Inc. and General Mills Inc. to temporarily pause ads on Twitter as brands rethink their presence on the platform now that Elon Musk has taken over the company and is making his mark on the social media business.

Volkswagen said Friday it had advised all of its brands to pause spending on the platform “until further notice” while monitoring Twitter’s evolution.

Brands are concerned that Twitter could host more objectionable content as Musk rethinks his approach to content moderation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter not mentioning it. Others are stepping back amid uncertainty at the top of the company, including the departure of some key executives. General Motors Co. said last week it was shutting down ads on Twitter.

“We’ve paused advertising on Twitter,” said Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokesperson for General Mills. “As always, we will continue to follow this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend.”

A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg.

Advertising mogul Martin Sorrell, chairman of S4 Capital Plc, said his company is advising clients to take a wait and see approach towards the platform. Rivals such as the holding company Interpublic Group or Cos. advised to suspend Twitter marketing, Variety reported earlier this week.

“Customers don’t want conflict, they don’t want controversy,” Sorrell said in a Bloomberg TV interview at the Web Summit in Lisbon on Thursday. “They want a stable environment, and what we’ve seen over the past week is too much inconsistency.”

Twitter only accounts for about 1% of global digital media, Sorrell said. But Twitter relies on ads for the majority of its revenue. Last week, Musk tweeted an open letter to marketers saying he wants to make Twitter “the most respected advertising platform in the world.”

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