Uber Eats looks beyond traditional media as it expands into new delivery options

Last week Uber launched a new campaign for its new grocery and alcohol delivery service available within Uber Eats. Mumbrella’s Olivia Kruimel speaks to Uber Eats head of marketing (delivery AUNZ) David Griffiths about the campaign and what’s to come for the ever-expanding Uber.

In 2017, Uber launched its first Uber Eats campaign in Australia featuring celebrities such as Sophie Monk, Beau Ryan, Ryan Maloney, Naomi Watts and Boy George discussing what they’ll be eating for dinner via the food delivery platform.

Now, Uber wants Australians to move beyond satisfying their hunger, to use its network of drivers and commercial partners to hand deliver everything from toilet paper to Tonic water, via its new platform: ‘This calls for’.

While the ‘Tonight I’ll be eating’ has seen many iterations since its first launch, with more stars added the line-up – most recently The Wiggles, Uber’s head of marketing (delivery ANZ) David Griffiths says that for the move into groceries and alcohol, it was a deliberate decision to do something different, without the celeb power.

“We’ve been so fortunate and ‘Tonight I’ll be eating…’ has been so successful,” Griffiths tells Mumbrella. “In a certain way, it’s handicapped us to a certain degree in terms of people automatically thinking of Uber only for food.

“Our job as marketers then is to almost reset that thinking, to try and transform all of that brand association with online food delivery and take it into groceries and alcohol.”

Examples of the assets for the “This calls for…’ campaign

However, this is not the first evolution for Uber, which initially started out as a ride-share platform before expanding into food delivery and now household items. Although for Griffiths and the team, that does not make the task at hand any less challenging.

“That’s why this campaign is probably one of the biggest, the most complex,” says Griffiths.

The solution was to move away from the use of celebrities, which has been a hallmark of the ‘Tonight I’ll be eating…’ and use real life situations.

“It was a really conscious decision of how we are going to shock and make people stand-up and notice that it is different to Uber Eats.”

The grocery and alcohol delivery category has undeniably had a boom period, some of which can be attributed to COVID and various lockdowns across the country, but despite things now for the most part back to normal, Griffiths says this movement is part of a bigger overall consumer change in behaviour that Uber is tapping into.

“Any online quick delivery platform is actually now becoming the smart choice rather than say a lazy choice,” says Griffiths. “We have a fantastic network of drivers and the ability to deliver products extremely quickly.”

Research by Uber shows consumers value their time and having something delivered to them means they can use that time to do something else.

“People don’t expect to wait that long for anything,” he says. “One of the things that’s made us so successful as a business is the reliability and consistently delivering things within the half an hour.”

A new look marketing function

Uber’s marketing function has also had to change in recent times to adapt to the market and the expansion of the Uber offerings.

“Our marketing teams are growing right across the board… to really kick us into this next chapter of what Uber Eats has to offer.

“We focused on bringing in the right people and we’re just putting the finishing touches on a new village agency model with new agencies coming into the mix.

“We’ve done some fantastic work, which has primarily been driven around traditional media,” explains Griffiths. “But there’s no getting away from or denying the fact that linear TV in Australia is decreasing. We’ve seen a real opportunity for us to grow our offering outside of traditional media.”

The latest campaign for the grocery and beverage service saw Herd MSL organised a seven-metre-long, 350kg pickle fly along Sydney’s eastern beaches in celebration of National Pickle Day as part of the Uber Eats groceries campaign.

Photograph Dallas Kilponen/Uber Eats

“This is a great new campaign and a great way for us to sort of launch the agency village model,” explains Griffiths, who adds that Uber is set to do more social and digital executions in the future.

“There’s loads of these more stunt-driven headline-grabbing activations that will be happening in the next few months, and that’s just driven again, not only by the size of that team increasing, but bringing in real experts,” adds Griffiths.

What next for Uber

“We want to evolve with the consumer demand,” says Griffiths of the platform. “Everything is on the table.”

David Griffiths

Some of the key areas Uber is exploring and testing include pharma and technology. “Bringing mobiles, tablets, smart watches to people extremely quickly is something that I’m excited about,” says Griffiths.

He adds that Uber is in discussions with a number of retailers in Australia, so in the not-too-distant future, purchases from the likes of Bunnings, Officeworks, Myer or The Reject shop could be delivered by Uber.

“We are extremely passionate around making sure that consumers have choice in their lives and try to have a variety of offerings on the platform,” he states.

“We want to have the best selection, the best variety for our customers. And that’s what the teams are working on behind the scenes.”


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