Food Brands Cut TV Advertising as Supply Chain Crisis Persists

Consumers may be seeing less food and retail advertisements on their TV screens this holiday season.

Department stores, such as Macy’s and Nordstrom, spent 8% less on TV commercials from July 30 to October 30 compared to the same period in 2019, according to EDO estimates, reported Reuters (Nov. 11). Meanwhile, casual dining restaurants have cut TV commercial spending by 56% compared to pre-COVID levels.


Hershey Co. recently said they cut back on ad and marketing spend in the third quarter because of supply-chain issues, reported The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 30).

“The supply-chain challenges just wouldn’t enable us to be able to meet further demand that we would create through our very impactful advertising,” Hershey Co. Chief Executive Michele Buck said on an investor call. “It just didn’t make sense.”

Additionally, Church & Dwight, the consumer-product company which owns the Arm & Hammer and OxiClean brands, pulled back on third-quarter marketing for products most affected by the shortages, especially household products.


Despite this, data analytic firms have not lowered projections for total ad spend this year.

In fact, the top 25 advertisers in four key sectors – packaged goods, retail, electronics and gaming – doubled their spending over the past three months compared with the same period in 2020, according to data from Pathmatics, which tracks internet display ads and digital ads on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

In some cases, it appears companies are shifting their ad spend to less traditional outlets, such as social media.

“Marketers and entities are focusing on platforms where consumers or the market are usually located,” said Keenan Beavis, founder of Canadian marketing agency Longhouse Media. “In this era, social media platforms are the dominant digital marketplace having a huge number of users, thus increasing the possibility of getting new leads…Instead of paying a huge amount for the airtime on television, there are various campaigns that social media can offer to them.”

Food brands, such as Chipotle, Dunkin’, Hello Fresh, and others, have taken to social media in recent years to reach a wider audience.

“Industries have entered an Amazon era and everyone knows it,” added Michael Knight, co-founder and Head of Marketing at Incorporation Insight which helps companies formalize their businesses. “The pandemic highlighted how the modern-day market actually relies on the web to fulfill almost their every need.”