The Super Bowl and the CPG Industry: A Marketing and Manufacturing Juggernaut


The Super Bowl is not just an annual sporting spectacle; it’s a cultural titan that commands the attention of millions across the United States. Its impact on the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry is profound, serving as a linchpin for marketing strategies and, less obviously but equally important, for co-manufacturing dynamics. Let’s explore the multifaceted importance of the Super Bowl to the CPG industry, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between marketing triumphs and the often unseen manufacturing agility that supports them, illustrated through real-world brand successes.

A Stage for Unprecedented Audience Reach

With its massive viewership, the Super Bowl offers CPG brands an unrivaled platform for exposure. PepsiCo leverages this through both memorable advertisements and its halftime show sponsorship, showcasing its brands to millions, thereby driving both brand recognition and consumer demand across its diverse product portfolio. The contract between the soda company and the NFL concluded following the 2021–22 season. Although Pepsi renewed its sponsorship agreement with the league, the updated arrangement no longer encompasses the company’s sponsorship of the halftime show.

Pepsi special NFL edition

Enhanced Brand Visibility and Consumer Awareness

Super Bowl commercials have become cultural milestones, providing brands a stage to embed themselves in the consumer psyche. Doritos has brilliantly utilized this platform with its “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign, which invites consumers to craft their own advertisements, a strategy that not only amplifies visibility but deepens consumer engagement.

The Ripple Effect on Co-Manufacturing

Behind the scenes, the surge in retail demand around the Super Bowl poses a unique challenge and opportunity for co-manufacturing. The anticipated spike in sales for snacks, beverages, and other party essentials requires CPG brands to closely collaborate with co-manufacturers to ensure sufficient product availability. This necessitates a ramp-up in production capacities, agile manufacturing processes, and a seamless supply chain operation to meet the heightened demand without hiccups.

For instance, Budweiser‘s “Puppy Love” ad not only cemented its status as a Super Bowl staple but also required Anheuser-Busch to coordinate effectively with its manufacturing partners to meet the ensuing demand surge, ensuring that its beverages were prominently available across retail outlets nationwide.

Creativity Meets Manufacturing Prowess

The innovation displayed in Super Bowl ads is mirrored in the manufacturing sector’s flexibility and responsiveness. Tide‘s ingenious ad series showcased not just creative marketing but underscored the necessity for manufacturers to be versatile, ready to increase production in response to the positive consumer reception generated by such high-profile campaigns.

Product Placement and Strategic Manufacturing

As Coca-Cola demonstrates, integrating products into the Super Bowl experience extends beyond mere advertising, involving strategic planning with co-manufacturers to ensure product lines are fully stocked and distribution channels are primed. This involves detailed demand forecasting and production planning to capitalize on the Super Bowl’s vast marketing reach.

On February 7th, Coca-Cola revealed the launch of a new enduring flavor in its collection: “Coca-Cola Spiced”. Marking the brand’s first permanent flavor expansion in three years, this addition features a unique blend of raspberry and spice flavors, as noted by Coca-Cola. It will be available in both the original and zero sugar options.

Coca-Cola Spiced: new flavor is now permanent

The Surge in Sales: A Testimony to Manufacturing Agility

Avocados From Mexico highlights the direct impact of effective Super Bowl marketing on manufacturing. The brand’s engaging advertisements, which promote avocados as essential for game-day snacks, necessitate a robust supply chain and manufacturing strategy to handle the spike in demand leading up to the game. This showcases the critical role that co-manufacturing plays in translating marketing success into sales performance.

Digital Engagement and the Supply Chain

The digital and social media campaigns that brands like Snickers deploy around the Super Bowl also have implications for manufacturing. The “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, extending from live ads to social media buzz, demonstrates how digital engagement strategies can drive demand that manufacturers must be prepared to meet, requiring a dynamic and responsive manufacturing and supply chain strategy.

The power of advertising…

A survey conducted by Ad Age-Harris Poll between January 12-17, involving over 1,800 participants from various generational cohorts shows how generations feel about Super Bowl. The survey aimed to gather insights into the preferences of Super Bowl advertisement viewers, focusing on aspects such as the ads’ tone, content, casting, and more.

  • 76% of those surveyed indicated they intend to watch the Super Bowl, showing an uptick from the previous year’s 63%.
  • Humorous ads are favored by 69% of participants, while 14% lean towards more serious advertisements. The breakdown of preferences by generation is as follows: Gen Z (67%), Millennials (66%), Gen X (75%), and Boomers (70%).
  • Regarding the style of ads, 31% appreciate patriotic themes, 24% support purpose-driven messages, and 32% prefer heartfelt content.
  • Super Bowl commercials influence 15% of the survey participants to be more inclined towards purchasing from a featured brand. This sentiment is particularly strong among Gen Z (27%) and Millennials (20%).
  • The types of ad features preferred by respondents include animals (47%), athletes (42%), TV and movie characters (42%), and celebrities (41%).
  • Enthusiasm for the halftime show varies by generation, with Millennials (74%), Gen Xers (69%), and Boomers (49%) showing the most interest, respectively.

…and how much will be spent.

  • Total projected spend is $15.3 billion.
  • Around 45 million people plan to host a Super Bowl party, while 69 million have plans to attend one.
  • Millennials are projected to spend the most, at $118.43 per person

The Super Bowl Snack Index

The Frito-Lay Super Bowl Snack Index is back, offering critical insights into Super Bowl party and snacking habits. Highlighted trends include:

  • A majority of seasoned hosts, 70%, are preparing for the game by devising a menu for their guests. Over half (51%) begin their Game Day planning at least a week in advance.
  • For 3 out of 5 guests, the allure of exceptional food is the key determinant in choosing which Super Bowl party to attend. This is especially pronounced among those under 40 (77%) and parents (74%).
  • Potluck-style gatherings are the favored party setup for 67% of people, underscoring the preference for shared culinary contributions rather than solely relying on the host for food.
  • The leading dips are salsa (27%), French onion (21%), and queso (20%). Salsa is particularly popular with Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X, while Baby Boomers show a preference for French onion.
  • Eight out of ten Americans view the act of mixing various snacks and foods to “create the perfect bite” as a form of “art.”
  • There’s been a 35% rise in individuals incorporating their beloved snack items into their meals.

Touch down!

The Super Bowl’s significance to the CPG industry extends far beyond its role as a marketing platform; it serves as a critical event that tests and showcases the agility and capability of the industry’s co-manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure. Through examples from PepsiCo, Budweiser, Tide, Coca-Cola, Avocados From Mexico, and Snickers, it’s clear that the Super Bowl catalyzes a complex interplay between marketing innovation and manufacturing excellence. This event underscores the need for CPG brands to not only create memorable marketing campaigns but also to ensure their manufacturing and supply chains are robust enough to capitalize on the heightened demand, ensuring that the marketing spectacle of the Super Bowl translates into tangible sales success and product availability.

How To Watch The 2024 Super Bowl

‍The Super Bowl will be aired on CBS and will also be available for streaming on Paramount+. For the very first time in NFL history, the Super Bowl will be aired in two distinct formats: the CBS broadcast and a family-friendly version on Nickelodeon.

Date: Sunday, Feb. 11
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas, Nevada)
TV: CBS, Nickelodeon 
Stream: CBS broadcast on Paramount+

Featured photo by Philip Goldsberry/Unsplash

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