Uber Eats delivers support to restaurants, comedy to Super Bowl in ‘Wayne’s World’ tie-up

Dive Brief:

  • Uber Eats plans to launch a $20 million restaurant relief program as part of a campaign that begins with its first-ever Super Bowl commercial. The food-delivery service, which is owned by ride-hailing pioneer Uber Technologies, is urging people to support local restaurants by waiving fees Feb. 3-7, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The Uber Eats relief package includes $4.5 million in small grants to local restaurants, which the company classifies as having fewer than five locations, in major U.S. cities. The Uber Eats app will show a donation button, giving customers a way to pledge additional financial support to local restaurants. Uber Eats will match the donations, and offer other programs to help local eateries.
  • Uber Eats is among the group of first-time Super Bowl advertisers whose sales jumped during the pandemic, including rival delivery service DoorDash, burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grille, lawn and garden care company Scotts Miracle-Gro and freelancer marketplace Fiverr. The Uber Eats commercial reunites comedians Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in their roles as Wayne and Garth from the “Wayne’s World” films and “Saturday Night Live” sketches.

Dive Insight:

Uber Eats will make its first appearance as a Super Bowl advertiser with a nostalgia-themed commercial that also marks the launch of a broader campaign to help ailing local restaurants. The reunion of Mike Myers and Dana Carvery in their “Wayne’s World” characters is likely to strike a chord with viewers who remember the duo from the 1980s and 1990s. The nostalgic twist is reminiscent of Jeep’s commercial last year that featured comedian Bill Murray reprising his role from “Groundhog Day,” which received high marks from viewers in a USA Today survey.

Humorous ads have tended to be popular with viewers, though the pandemic led many brands to adopt a more serious tone in their messaging to match the public mood. There are signs that lighthearted ads are making a comeback as viewers seek an escape from the troubling news about the health crisis.

Uber Eats’ campaign also addresses ongoing concerns about the pandemic’s impact on the economy with its broader campaign to help local restaurants that have suffered financial hardship amid the restrictions on indoor dining in many regions. No-fee promotions can help attract new users to delivery apps and provide an enduring boost to sales even after the promotion is over. While delivery services have provided a way for many restaurants to supplement their revenue while in-venue dining is on hold, many smaller restaurant chains have complained that the fees they pay to third-party delivery apps are a hardship.

Uber Eats announced its first Super Bowl commercial a week after rival DoorDash said it would debut an ad to promote its expanded services. Its 60-second spot stars actor and rapper Daveed Diggs and “Sesame Street” muppets in a reimagination of the “People in Your Neighborhood” song from the children’s educational show. The commercial will highlight all the things that people can order from stores in their communities through DoorDash. The company went public last month in an offering that bolsters its financial war chest for future growth.

Amid the growing rivalry with DoorDash, Uber this week announced plans to acquire alcohol delivery service Drizly for $1.1 billion. Uber plans to integrate Drizly into its Uber Eats app, another sign of how delivery services are a crucial part of the ride-sharing company’s growth.

With many people hunkering down at home during the pandemic, Uber’s ride-sharing business experienced a 53% yearly slump in bookings to $5.91 billion in the third quarter. However, delivery bookings for Uber Eats surged by 134% to $8.55 billion as it expanded into grocery delivery, per Uber’s quarterly report. The company seeks to maintain the momentum for Uber Eats with its Super Bowl ad and broader campaign to support local restaurants.

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