Viewers who didn’t change the channel during the World Series commercial breaks probably saw Twitter’s commercial. To kick off its newest feature, Moments, and the beginning of a large-scale marketing campaign by ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, the firm’s television ad aired during the World Series on Tuesday. The 30-second spot included an animated series of brief clips of real sports highlights as they appeared in actual tweets. The fast-moving images, set to upbeat music, were intended to speed along so quickly that you couldn’t actually read anything, because according to Twitter, “the young people who are the ad’s target audience prefer it that way.”
However, it was precisely because of the speed and inability to read anything on the screen that viewers took to Twitter to comment on the ad, or more accurately to complain. Viewers indicated that they were confused about what the ad was supposed to be promoting, and had no idea that the ad was promoting Moments, a tool launched at the beginning of the month to help find the information we want more quickly.
Twitter comments ranged from “crazy” to “incomprehensible.” And although there were a handful of supporters, a common theme among those reacting to the ad was that it didn’t seem welcoming or inviting if the goal was to convince new users to give Twitter a chance.
That Twitter commercial was *really bad*. Can’t imagine anyone feeling invited to use the service or see the value after seeing the spot.
— Count Frappula (@jstoff) October 28, 2015
Twitter’s first TV ad is just as hard for people unfamiliar with Twitter to understand as the service itself. https://t.co/ZgzQfqXg4o
— George Nimeh ⭐ (@iboy) October 29, 2015
This ad wasn’t Twitter’s first attempt at appealing to television viewers. In 2012, the platform ran a 15-second TV spot during the 2012 Pocono 400 NASCAR race featuring driver Brad Keselowski taking selfies with his iPhone. The ad promoted a special hashtag users could follow to “see what he sees” as a driver.
It isn’t clear how successful that first TV spot was, but since nearly everyone is assuming that this World Series ad was Twitter’s first, it’s probably safe to call the NASCAR ad a swing and a miss. And given the reception this latest ad received, it may well be two strikes and you’re out for Twitter and TV advertising, unless the company can adjust its stance.