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Ding-Dong! Serving Up Insights on Delivery App Advertising

June 22, 2021

When bars and restaurants closed down due to the pandemic, most consumers turned to ordering take-out and delivery as their primary means of supporting their local businesses. Companies like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub gained in popularity and became a staple in our daily, couch-dependent lives. In fact, the global pandemic has more than doubled business for food delivery apps.

Now, with COVID restrictions eased to near zero and restaurants back to full capacity in many cities across the U.S., we don’t yet know the effect the shift back towards “normal” will have on these brands, their delivery drivers, and consumers. Will these companies take a huge hit as consumers go back to dining in restaurants, or will the convenience of delivered meals discovered during the pandemic carry over to become a more regular aspect of daily life?

Using our industry-leading in-market measurement platform Phoenix Brand Effect, we took a look at the recent advertising of the top three food delivery apps and how their ads are stacking up against one another.



Based on the data, we can see UberEats is leading the group in terms of overall performance, with top scores for both ad memorability and brand linkage. Their “March Madness Super Fan” ad, which features actress and comedian Leslie Jones, provides a humorous take on the different versions of ourselves from quarantine and now. This relatable ad is evocative of the type of advertising we tend to see during the Super Bowl, with humor playing front and center in the ad’s story and their smart use of rising star Leslie Jones, who expertly portrays how most of us felt during the days of lockdown.

Runner-up DoorDash also utilizes a celebrity presence in their “Big Game Teaser – Nom Nom” ad in the hopes of boosting their ad’s performance. DoorDash’s “Sesame Workshop” campaign features stage actor (and Hamilton star) Daveed Diggs and familiar faces from The Neighborhood like Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Grover. While the clever storyline involving Diggs and everyone’s favorite Muppets made the ad quite memorable, DoorDash’s branding was not very prominent in the ad itself. Their lack of relevant brand cues caused the ad to fall short on Brand Linkage and brought down their overall breakthrough.

Grubhub’s “Perks: Delivery Dance” ad, which first aired in November 2020 but picked up steam in early 2021, has received a myriad of mixed reviews, ranging from critiques of the animation, the song choice, and the hip-swinging dance moves. This flurry of criticism dubbed the ad “one of the first big memes of 2021”, but didn’t mean all bad for the ad itself. As we’ve seen before when it comes to controversial advertising, this ad’s questionable reception has secured it some effective branding; after all, nobody is going to mistake this ad for anything else anytime soon.

Interested in learning how these campaigns performed on a brand level or looking for additional insights into the why’s behind the performance of these ads?  Drop us a line!



Phoenix Brand Effect is the gold standard for in-market performance and can provide real-world, real-time, in-flight ad measurement to help you establish a baseline for future campaigns. Looking to bridge the gap between pre-market creative development and in-market tracking? Our newly-developed AdPi-Brand Effect Platform offers clients a seamless solution to maximize ad performance using creative diagnostics (AdPi®) to generate forward-looking estimates to understand your creative’s full in-market performance potential (Brand Effect).

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