The Grocery Store Guide to Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s Relationship

published Mar 16, 2024
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taylor and travis kelce and family's grocery deals
Credit: Photos: Getty Images, KIND, HelluvaGood, Barefoot, Smuckers, Campbell's, Frank's Red Hot, Dove, Lindt, Reese's; Design: The Kitchn

You don’t have to be a diehard Taylor Swift lover (like me) or a staunch football fan (could never be me) to know that the pop star has been very publicly dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce. Ever since that momentous 24th night of September when Swift attended her very first Chiefs game, the couple has been a topic loud enough for even my non-pop-culture-versed friends to know about and bring up to me. As more and more attention has fixated on Traylor, the supporting characters around them — namely, the extended Kelce family — also found themselves at the center of the cultural moment. 

If you’ve felt like a different Kelce has tried to sell you far too many grocery items, you’re not imagining things. In the last six months, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend and his friends and family have collectively acquired over 16 endorsements with such major brands as Walmart, Campbell’s, Smucker’s, and KIND (and that excludes their collaborations with Nike, Direct TV, State Farm, Helzberg Diamonds, Pfizer, Amazon, and several other companies). We’ve hit a new era of celebrity-backed food brand endorsements, with the Kelce family and company leading the way. 

Credit: Photos: Getty Images; Design: The Kitchn

If the Kardashians paved the way for celebrity-owned brands, the Kelces have gone on to prove that high-profile figures can have a huge influence without having to form a whole new company from scratch. Instead their tactic has been to lend their faces and personalities to existing food and beverage brands — and a lot of them — that feel like natural extensions of who they’ve become known to be. (The only outlier here is Travis Kelce’s Kitchen, a line of heat-and-serve meals exclusively distributed through Walmart which, given the slew of partnerships that have followed it, feels firmly frozen in time.)

Taking a noncommittal approach to brand collaborations has proven to be an effective money making strategy. Approach her with a strong presentation and you can get Momma Kelce to sell almost anything — bottles of Barefoot Wine, tubs of HeluvaGood! Dips, even the cash back app, Ibotta. Slap her name on a box and boom! The KIND Dark Chocolate Clusters suddenly become Donna’s Purse Snack known all around the internet.

If anyone can help construct a marketable narrative about members of a very wholesome American family it’s Miss Americana and the Fixer of National Economies, Taylor Swift.

Meanwhile, brother Jason Kelce can earn some pocket money by screaming his head off in a Reese’s campaign and ripping his shirt off in a Frank’s red hot sauce Super Bowl ad. And nobody puts Kylie Kelce in a corner! Even Taylor’s boyfriend’s brother’s wife has become a tastemaker, landing profitable collabs, and through that, we learned her favorite game-day snack is Lindt chocolate truffles. A choice.

The Kelces themselves know the power and the influence they’ve gained from association to Taylor Swift. For Donna and the Kelce Dynamos, the tactic of taking brand deal after brand deal has helped them crossover from football famous to household names. Their presence is inescapable and frequently discussed across subcultures, which only helps market products and, in turn, themselves more.

What helps is that nothing about the Kelces and their now high-profile acquaintances screams CONTROVERSY. The world is unforgiving! Familial and romantic relationships are both complicated! Delusion is a popular national solution, and the portrait of a very wholesome, loving family dedicated to a great American pastime gives us something to believe in and buy into.

Is it ironic to learn a lesson about playing it safe from a family with close ties to a sport with one of the highest concussion rates? Yes, but the world works in mysterious ways. I never thought I’d ever write this much about football!

If anyone can help construct a marketable narrative about members of a very wholesome American family it’s Miss Americana and the Fixer of National Economies, Taylor Swift. (You’d be too foolish to think she wasn’t involved in all of this in some way.) I mean, this is the woman who in 2020 had us invested in a fictional love triangle between two teenage girls named Betty and Augustine and an anxious-avoidant skater boy. Whereas the folklore characters were a product of Swift’s wildest dreams, the Kelces are real people she’s decided to very publicly associate with. 

Donna Kelce was spotted with Ziploc bags full of food at many games. Next thing you know, she’s named the brand’s first Chief Leftover Officer.

There’s a lot more at stake — especially for Taylor. Any one of these products attached to a Kelce family member has an invisible string tied to Swift. Swifties come from all different ages, demographics, nationalities, belief systems, and purchasing habits. At this stage of her career where Taylor Swift, the entity, has been cemented as a lifestyle many subscribe to, brand deals of her own would not only be in poor taste, but they could hurt her reputation (Taylor’s Version). Not only that, but nothing — and I mean, nothing — can top her Diet Coke campaign circa 2013.

Will we still love the whole Traylor cinematic universe when they’re nothing new? Sure, the football season played out like the “You Belong With Me” music video, but it’s come to a close and the novelty around these people stands at an interesting crossroad. 

The most successful brand activations constructed story arcs based on how this family was portrayed in and around the sports arena, where their mundanity was their magic. Donna Kelce was spotted with Ziploc bags full of food at many games; next thing you know, she’s named the brand’s first Chief Leftover Officer. Scream and rip his shirt off once, brands will come knocking at Jason Kelce’s door. Need I mention how Kylie Kelce and Brittany Mahomes (the Chief’s quarterback’s wife) strike endorsements with the likes of Dove, The Honey Baked Ham Company, OWYN, and The Farmer’s Dog just by kind of being there? How will they be marketed without their main stage?

The future of the Kelce family brand deal legacy remains unclear for now, but two things are for certain. The culture of the hyper-influencer is alive and well. Secondly, Momma Kelce seems tired — of having to be in the limelight, of dodging the Traylor-sized elephant in the room in almost every appearance (the couple is clearly an off-limit subject in interviews), and of generally being America’s Mom. Maybe she’ll hibernate in the off season. Someone get her a Sleepytime tea brand deal.