A dozen glazed donuts sit to the side of a cake that says 'Happy Birthday Hamish' and Lleyton Hewitt is posing next to a poke bowl as I arrive to the set of the latest campaign for UberEats.
It's the shoot for its upcoming ad, released today, starring Hamish Blake, Andy Lee and tennis champion, Hewitt.
The new campaign, from Special Group and MediaCom, is an extension of the brand platform that has seen UberEats leverage some of Australia's most prominent celebrities.
Highlights include Rebel Wilson and Ruby Rose ordering tacos to a tattoo parlour while Lee Lin Chin calls for Nandos during a tense game of chess with Ray Martin.
When Hewitt is swept away to shoot, AdNews sits down with UberEats director of marketing Steve Brennen, who is also the top marketer for Uber.
Brennen, formerly the CMO of eBay, is confident that celebrities as a tactic will position UberEats as an "iconic Australian brand" up there with the likes of Vegemite.
UberEats most recent campaign
Last year’s campaign was built around the core insight that one-third of people don't know what they’re eating for dinner each night and featured celebrities such as Boy George and Naomi Watts.
It was the brand's first brand campaign in Australia and delivered strong results, doubling UberEats' awareness and moving it from third in the delivery service category to first in under a year.
This time, UberEats is shifting the focus from brand awareness to brand consideration, which Brennan describes as a pivot, albeit a subtle one.
“This second iteration of the campaign speaks to the occasion of sharing a meal with loved ones,” Brennen says, on the decision to now include two or three celebrities in each ad.
A big focus for UberEats has been hyper localisation across Australia. So far, it has partnered with more than 16,000 Australian restaurants and has plans to expand its offering.
“You can’t win at Australia or Sydney level. You really need to win at a very hyper-suburb level. People only really care about the food around them,” Brennen says.
Confident that this hyperlocal approach is what will bring sustained success, UberEats will continue to hero local restaurants and local food selections.
In the most recent ad, Hewitt references Vietnamese restaurant Banana Blossom, which Brennen says is part of showcasing its smaller partners.
Brennen said the celebrities chosen have universal appeal, but the decision to bring on TV presenter Ray Martin was also a tactical ploy to appeal to older generations.
“Young or old, you’re probably eating tonight,” Brennen says, adding the brand isn't zoning in on a particular demographic but investing heavily in marketing to drive consideration for all ages.
UberEats has seen a sizeable generational shift in its consumers, engaging urban metro millennials alongside baby boomers.
“I still feel like our work is not done until everyone knows what UberEats is, how it works and why it could be an option for them. We have literally hundreds of thousands of people joining every month," Brennen says.
Whether the successful UberEats celebrity campaign style will translate globally is still up for consideration.
“For Australia this works spot on. Everyone is very interested in the success of this and it’ll only help us set a global benchmark about when you invest in integrated marketing and you’ve got a well placed market with a good product fit,” Brennen says.
The ‘Tonight I’ll Be Eating’ campaign will be rolled out over the coming weeks, tailored specifically to each city’s offerings. This will be supported by out of home, digital, radio and social media activations.
While Brennen is chief marketing officer for both Uber and UberEats, he is tactical about strategies for each subsidiary of Uber’s master brand.
We may not see celebrities in Uber’s ride sharing ads anytime soon, but he says the same reiterations of hyperlocality and reliability are present in Uber's most recent brand campaign 'See you Soon'.
As for the future of the Uber masterbrand, Brennen is most excited by innovations happening in flying cars and drone delivery that could see a burrito dropped from the sky to your door.
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