Cannes Lions

Uber Eats Australian Open Ambush

SPECIAL GROUP, Sydney / UBER / 2019

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Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

Since its launch in September 2017, the Uber Eats Australia ‘Tonight, I’ll be eating…’ creative platform has been gaining momentum.

We were in our second year. The campaign was originally developed, to normalise food delivery for dinner.

But this was the year to firmly stake a claim as category leader, and elevate Uber Eats into a truly iconic, culture-shaping brand.

The task for this brief, was to inject ordering food on Uber Eats even more into culture, by sponsoring the Australian Open.

And we had a bold ambition to own this cultural moment not just sponsor it. And to do this we had to find a way to do it that was unmistakably and distinctly Uber Eats. A campaign that cut through the clutter of generic tennis themed promotion and captured the attention of Australians.

Idea

Our idea was to achieve a world-first level of broadcast/event integration.

We set out to make people watching the Australian Open broadcast, utterly believe they were returning to the tennis after an ad break, only to have it suddenly turn into a dinner order for UberEats.

We didn’t set out to make our films feel similar to the tennis, but absolutely identical to the tennis.

Each spot begun seemingly returning to the exact tennis match people are watching. Not just generic tennis, but the actual match. With no warning, it then transforms into the player, camera man, umpire or audience member announcing their dinner order on Uber eats.

And in the end, our integration of 14 different films into the Tennis was so seamless - viewers wondered if at any time the Aus Open would become an Uber Eats ad.

In other words, we stood out by perfectly blending in.

Strategy

Our target audience were major cities in metro areas, where Uber Eats is abundantly available. Our target time was the dinner occasion, the prime growth moment for people to try Uber Eats. But why the Australian Open? Australia quite literally stops to watch the tennis, particularly during the big tennis stars matches played at night. It crosses all viewing demographics, appealing well beyond the traditionally phone/app centric age group more naturally comfortable with the Uber Eats online ordering platform.

We also knew a live media placements with its lack of a conventional ‘repetitive appearance rhythm’ that traditional sponsor ads have would be constantly disruptive, prevent wear out and gain constant attention.

The uniqueness of this premium sporting property’s short-but-ultra-intense 2 week duration gave us the opportunity to do something at a large scale, fast. We were looking for high impact, not a traditional drawn out sponsorship.

Execution

Never before had Tennis Australia (the event management) allowed a brand to use the actual tournament broadcast crew, cameras, officials and commentators, or to shoot on court.

Never before had an Australian TV Network had to deliver real time, live ad placement in a live sporting telecast (with a constantly changing player appearance schedule due to wins and losses!) only at the end of ad breaks, only during games the actual players in the ads were playing in.

Never before had a brand gained access to the tournament broadcast graphics, or featured other sponsors logos so heavily. We negotiated and attempted to use everything exactly the same as the real broadcast in order for our films to appear identical.

We broke rules of media, marketing and sponsorships - accessing assets, the court, the players during the tournament and doing real time placement of ads; all blurring line between broadcast

Outcome

The campaign proved a huge success garnering both national and international media attention with such headlines as being declared “A modern take on product placement” and “Tennis ad a game changer” as well as it being announced that the “Australian Open hijacked by ads posing as a game” and finally “Game. Set. Match,. Uber Eats”. Uber Eats was not the major sponsor of the Australian Open, but after this they were simply believed to be. For impact results please refer to the confidential information section as the Uber has requested this remain undisclosed to the public.

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