Is Traditional Food Marketing Dead? Super Bowl Advertising Says It Is

Photo: Planters

If you were one of the almost 115 million viewers who tuned in to Super Bowl 57 yesterday, you may have noticed a distinct absence of advertisements from food companies. Hell, even some popular beverage companies hit snooze this year (I'm still waiting for my heartwarming Budweiser Clydesdales to show up...) so it had me wondering why the lack of food and drink representation?

Was it the $7 million price tag for a 30-second slot? Was there a bigger push for social media marketing instead? Did everyone waste their money on celebrity endorsements and throw the product out the window? Let's take a look.

Higher Prices for Commercial Spots


2023 marks the highest cost per 30-second advertisement the Super Bowl has ever seen. We've seen incremental (on a large scale, obviously) increases every year but the record was broken this year with each 30-second advertisement costing $7 million dollars. This inflation has caused some companies to do one of three things: release their commercials the week before the Super Bowl to avoid the higher expense, turn to social media platforms for their marketing, or simply avoiding new commercials altogether.

"Free" Social Media Marketing

According to data taken for this year's Super Bowl, the demographic majority of viewers were adults ages 35-64. Since the NFL created its own TikTok channel back in 2020, we've seen a tremendous shift from the OG commercial platform into a new digital era where younger audiences from around the world become free ambassadors to big-name companies like Mountain Dew, Chipotle, and State Farm.


Earlier this year, the social media conglomerate announced a 3-5% ad credit incentive to companies who wished to market their product through the app versus our televisions.

Instead of doling out $7 million for an ad, brands like State Farm and Chipotle opted for a cheaper $50,000-$300,000 advertisement spends on TikTok. Once the ad is released, millions will recreate whatever social media challenge is introduced and spread it like wildfire, giving those who opted for digital advertising "free" pushes in their direction. Plus, younger generations are much more likely to broaden their horizons with new brands versus those who are older and less likely to change.

Cars Commercials Lead in 2023


Yes, you best believe I went down a rabbit hole and compiled data from the last six Super Bowls to showcase this point. According to the data provided, only 25% of the advertisements shown this year (including brands with repeat commercial spots) were comprised of food and beverage companies. This is down almost 10% from 2018 and we can notice a gradual decline every year. The other 75%? The biggest influx of advertisements came from car companies like Nissan, Hyundai, and GMC, online retailers like TEMU (which paid nearly $30 million dollars for their ad to be aired four times), and a few advertisements asking you to find Jesus. Or Jesus was trying to find you. I'm not sure, really.

The Future of Food & Drink Advertising

Looking at the overall trends of Super Bowls before us and those to come, it seems like traditional food and beverage advertisements are slowly making their way out. Gone are the days of Paris Hilton devouring a Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger on the hood of a truck. We say goodbye to the heartwarming Folger's commercials where everyone could agree on one thing: the art of a perfect cup of coffee. And, sadly, we didn't get to cheer for the Budweiser Clydesdales this year. Instead, we were given a myriad of QR codes to scan and celebrities to endure.

Feature photo: DoorDash