By Nat Ives
Uber Eats, the online food-delivery service owned by Uber Technologies Inc., will run a commercial during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
The game will also feature an ad from rival DoorDash Inc.
The ads are the first Super Bowl appearances for both brands, which are chasing new business as well as profitability in a highly competitive and fast-growing sector.
The 60-second commercial from Uber Eats will feature comedians Mike Myers and Dana Carvey reprising their roles as Wayne and Garth from the “Wayne’s World” movies and “Saturday Night Live” sketches.
DoorDash said on Jan. 22 that it would make its debut appearance on the Super Bowl ad roster this year to promote its delivery options beyond restaurant food. Its own minute-long spot will star actor and rapper Daveed Diggs alongside “Sesame Street” Muppets including Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Grover.
The companies are buying Super Bowl ads following a year of growth during the lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic. Gross bookings for Uber Eats more than doubled in the third quarter compared with the equivalent period a year earlier and rose 23% from the previous quarter.
Consumer spending on online food-delivery services in the U.S. will total $71.8 billion in 2021, up from $61.5 billion in 2020 and $33.5 billion in 2019, according to Brian Nowak, an equity analyst covering the U.S. internet industry at Morgan Stanley.
“Delivery is certainly more relevant to people’s lives this year than ever before,” said Thomas Ranese, vice president of global marketing at Uber Technologies.
Mr. Ranese said he welcomed DoorDash’s presence in the game. “The Super Bowl is a really big stage, so there’s room for lots of brands,” he said.
The online delivery business is the scene of intense competition and high costs. Uber Eats lost $182 million in the third quarter on an adjusted basis, although its losses are narrowing.
DoorDash more than tripled revenue in the third quarter, compared with the year-earlier period, but swung back to a loss after posting a profit in the second quarter.
Although online food-delivery services need to accumulate loyal customers, neither the pandemic nor the Super Bowl can guarantee repeat business, said Youssef Squali, lead internet analyst at Truist Securities.
“Clearly scale is what ultimately drives profitability, and the $64,000 question is how much of that is really pandemic-driven versus a change in consumer behavior, and honestly we’re still in the middle of it,” Mr. Squali said. “So it’s very hard to parse it out. My best guess right now is it’s a combination of both.”
The brand awareness that a Super Bowl commercial can deliver is important, but the services’ ultimate goal is getting people to sign up for their subscription memberships, Mr. Squali added.
ViacomCBS Inc., which will broadcast the Super Bowl on CBS, has been seeking about $5.5 million for 30-second spots during the game.
Write to Nat Ives at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 31, 2021 01:14 ET (06:14 GMT)
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