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“Tonight, I’ll be eating…” Internet slams Uber Eats spokesperson campaign ads. Is a plus or minus for the brand profile?

“Tonight, I’ll be eating…Kebuke bubble milk tea without ice.”

“Tonight, I’ll be eating…Jin Feng braised pork rice with an egg.” 

Do these two sentences immediately call up an image and sounds in your mind? 

The commercial rated as a “confusion” and “embarrassment” 

▲ The frequent promotion on YouTube has rooted the line “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” in everyone’s memory.

At the beginning of this year, the series of Uber Eats ads were heavily promoted on YouTube. Inside an indoor basketball court that is decorated like Jam Hsiao’s home, Jam and Crowd Lu makes their Uber Eats orders after saying the signature line “Tonight, I’ll be eating…”. The food arrives immediately with the ring of the doorbell, and two rewarded singers play basketball against each other while trash talking each other like old friends, creating a funny and relaxing atmosphere. 

The brainwashing line “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” frequently appears at the beginning and middle of the commercial. A large number of YouTube users were shown the ads numerous times, resulting in a new wave of chatter online. 

Some users feel that the ad message is unclear and the repeated broadcastings are annoying. “It’s such an embarrassing ad.” “I have no idea what the heck they are doing.” “This is a shoe commercial, right?” Some even think that the ad works against its purpose “This ad makes me want to delete Uber Eats.” However, some users remain positive and say “It will be the first app pop up in your mind when you want to place an order.” “In a certain way, it’s a success, because at least you remember it.” 

Everyone has his or her own opinion, but who is right?

The “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” campaign in Australia

▲ The Uber Eats “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” campaign series in Australia has started in 2017 and continued until today.

Probably only a few people know that the format of this commercial was not a Taiwanese original creation. “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” was debuted in Australia by Uber Eats in 2017. The team found that “one third of Australians have no idea what to eat for dinner”, so they invited a series of celebrities to announce their Uber Eats orders in the living rooms, next to a pond, and inside their bathtubs in a comfortable pose at home. Then, dinner arrives immediately at the ring of the doorbell. 

Each commercial only lasts 5 seconds long. They are casual and funny, and easy to imitate on social media. This event gradually expanded and the team partnered with the Australian Open at the beginning of 2019 on a series of videos. The latest video was released at the end of last year. They splurged on casting Kim Kardashian and Australian comedian Magda Szubanski for the commercial. 

Now, “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” has become synonymous of Uber Eats. Most of people use this hashtag when they order food deliveries as well. 

(Watch the series of commercials at https://bit.ly/3aKHZyx)

It looks similar, but what makes them different?

The Taiwanese version looks quite similar in comparison with the Australian version, but the audience react differently. So what is exactly the key difference?  

The success of the Australian commercial comes from the bandwagon effect inspired by various celebrities, which are much more persuasive than just one or two celebrities. Thus, the Australian version utilizes fine movie-like scenes to instantly raise the image of such service in the minds of the audience. The combination of the two factors express the message that “Uber Eats is the latest new trend”. 

In Taiwan, the main users of food delivery services are in their 20s and 30s, are male customers in northern Taiwan with high income. Basically, “rich privileged men”. In that regard, every element in the commercials is related to these people (the high-end but not excessively luxurious homes and the widely popular basketball sport). However, that doesn’t mean that the audience is inspired just because there is some connection. 

Min-Guay Yeh, renowned commercial genius who is also the promoter of the successful brands, such as Le Rive Gauche de la Seine (左岸咖啡館) and PX Mart (全聯). He mentioned in his book, “The Technology and Art of Branding” (品牌的技術和藝術), rather than portraying the real lifes of the target audience, “Commercials should project the desired lifestyles of the consumers to resonate with the them, because human beings are never satisfied with the status quo, and will always hope for a better life in the future.” 

As a 30 second short commercial ad,  this is what the Taiwanese version lacked, while the Australian version successfully achieved.

A comparison with a powerful competitor Foodpanda

▲ Foodpanda spokesperson of the year, Chris Wu, brings the struggle of an office worker who cannot have regularly scheduled meals to life.

Foodpanda has adjusted its delivery person system, reducing the income per order. Uber Eats has ended its long period of zero delivery fee discount at the beginning of this year and switched to the promotion of a subscription deal. Taiwan’s food delivery platforms have finally ceased fire on supplemented delivery battles, low-cost battles, and have entered into a whole new battlefield. The U-Brand spokesperson are Golden Melody Award Winners Jam Hsiao and Crowd Lu, while the first Panda Brand spokesperson is the Golden Bell Award Winner Actor Chris Wu. 

The first recruitment of spokespersons by both brands show that they are targeting at young generation. Jam Hsiao is a recent commercial superstar, and Crowd Lu is a favorite of fans among all age groups, while comparing with the aforesaid singers, Chris Wu is less known, yet has a younger and fresher image than the other two. There are advantages in the spokespersons of both brands. 

In comparison with its competitor, the commercial “Order what you want with foodpanda” played by Chris Wu is widely acclaimed. “At the Office” and “Late-Night Snacks” are about a busy office worker who has no time to have lunch at a restaurant. Also, he has to work overtime  till midnight, and then decided to order food delivery to reward himself. “The Weekend” is about not wanting to leave the house for hanging out with friends, then he just orders food delivery so that they can enjoy at home. 

This series of ads adopt a different strategy than Uber Eats. It directly shows you the suitable scenarios for food delivery services, so that you will link the said brand with such scenarios. Scenario commercials can always grab the Taiwanese audiences’attention. However, it’s possible that they might become cliche. Thanks to the outstanding performance by Chris Wu, he made the simple stories interesting, and strongly let the office workers echoing the same way.

About Commercials in Regards to a Brand

We cannot know in a short amount of time whether a commercial has a impact on consumer choices, but we could talk about the impact of a commercial on the impressions of a brand. 

We can observe the reasons that the Internet does not appreciate the “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” series include the fatigue from overexposure, criticisms of bad acting and awkward dialog, and failure to see the connection between basketball and food delivery services. “Basketball” is indeed the most highlighted element of the video. The basketball theme is a connecting factor throughout the scenes, the outfits, and the dialogs of the three commercials: stretching captain, equipment bro, Hsiao vs. Crowd 1-1. 

We mentioned Mr. Yeh Minguay earlier, who also wrote in his book “Ads with direct correlations are never as clever as those with indirect correlations, which creates an instant bond with the audience”. However, he also said “The style and tone of a commercial must be related to what the ad wants to say or brand characteristics after the personification of the product. Every definition of a correlation aside from this will be adding contaminants in your creation.” 

In this regard, instead of a directly correlated Foodpanda commercial, Uber Eats wanted to purpose a more ambitious “indirect correlation”, which is “basketball”. It does not have a direct connection to food delivery, and creates a youthful and energetic brand character. However, perhaps the overly realistic scenes and an excessive emphasis on basketball shifted the focus, resulting in the audience asking “What are you trying to say? What does food delivery have to do with basketball?”, rather than resonate directly with the ambiance. 

However, the expanded broadcast did make the line “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” a famous phrase that will make everyone smile. Will Uber Eats be able to benefit from this result and create new sparks with a negative review to raise its brand profile in the future? That is certainly something to look forward to.

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