After just over three years in the Australian market UberEats’ brand recognition is now on par with McDonald’s and Woolworths.

While benefiting from the halo (or shadow, depending on the news cycle) of the larger Uber brand, Eats has also embarked on high profile marketing campaigns to normalise home delivery and stake its claim as the dominant category leader.

Speaking at a Vivid Ideas talk in Sydney this week, Jodie Auster, GM, UberEats Australia shared how her marketing team approached the challenge of breaking into the local market, where Deliveroo, Menulog and Foodora were already highly active.

“In three short years, I’m proud to say that UberEats in Australia and New Zealand has reached a level of awareness that most retailers have spent decades of efforts working to achieve,” Auster said.

Auster outlined five principles that underpin UberEats marketing activity:

  • Be generous with the customer;
  • Create joy in their day;
  • Get everybody talking;
  • Tell stories in interesting, fun and surprising ways;
  • Link to other passionate products and moments.

UberEats launched its ‘Tonight I’ll Be Eating’ campaign in September 2017, featuring Australian and International personalities receiving their UberEats order at home as a way to normalise home delivery. This year the company decided to step it up, hijacking the Australian Open tennis broadcast.

As an official sponsor of the event, Auster said the company was looking for a way to cut through the crowded field of tennis sponsors and “own this cultural moment”.

Nadal UberEats

Uber’s campaign involved duplicating the sporting broadcast by using the same courts, broadcast crew, officials, commentators and players, who received an on-court UberEats delivery.

The ads then had to be placed at the end of the commercial break during that player’s match, to make it appear to viewers as though the ads had ended and the broadcast resumed.

“With this campaign, we broke the rules of media, marketing and sponsorships,” Auster said.

“We accessed the court and the players during the tournament and did real-time placement of ads, all blurring the line between broadcast and advertising. This was a huge task.”

“The result made a brand that would normally be lost in the clutter with other event sponsors completely stand out — by perfectly blending in.”

The campaign attracted complaints that it wasn’t clearly identifiable as advertising, but was cleared by the Ad Standards panel which found it did not breach the industry code.

According to the ruling, “The panel considered that it may not be immediately clear within the first few seconds that this is an advertisement, however after this time the use of logos, disclaimers and wording would make it clear to most viewers that this is an advertisement.”

Auster argued that all of this brand activity needs to be backed up by the product experience.

“If we don’t back it up every time the UberEats brand loses its worth. And that’s quite hard to do when you’re bridging an online experience with an offline experience,” she said.

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