If you’re a fan of the summer tennis like me, you may have been witness to a series of TV ads during the Australian Open 2019 by Uber Eats a few weeks back as an extension of their “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” platform. The ads are a new type of TV advertising, being labelled as “integrated TV commercials”. They feature some of the world’s best tennis stars including Rafael Nadal and our very own [although sometimes reluctant to admit it], Nick Kyrgios.

The ads began as what appeared to be coverage of live match play where the tennis stars themselves would be donning the very sweaty clothes they were wearing prior to the ad break. In the example below, we see Rafael Nadal taking a break from the very match we were just watching only to deliver his crafty lines [although somewhat difficult to understand] to promote the food home delivery service.

And another one featuring Nick Kyrgios superb [cough] acting skills.

The ads received both positive and negative reviews from people, some claiming they were tricked, cheated and even found the ads cringe-worthy. Others praised the ads for being creative, entertaining and funny [which I would have to agree with].

So, what can a small business learn from this campaign by Uber Eats?

entertain the audience when you have their attention

It’s hard to gain the attention of an audience at the best of times. Blogs and videos businesses publish to their websites and social media channels are often overlooked in a crowded content marketplace, and the engagement levels are low.

Uber Eats has hooked the audience’s attention at the best possible moment. Instead of airing another “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” ad in a different setting using famous actors, singers and TV personalities, they’ve considered when the audience is most engaged with the screen and hit them with an ad at that very moment in a very entertaining way.

Too often small businesses are wasting money on advertising and content promotion that receives little to no engagement, resulting in no return on investment. It usually boils down to the context and timing of the content promotion where businesses publish on the wrong channels or at the wrong time… or both! As an example, if you’re a wedding photographer, placing an ad in the local paper in summer will have less impact than if you placed an ad in Modern Wedding Magazine on the lead up to wedding season. Find out where your audience is consuming content and when they are most engaged, then serve up some content of your own in the form of entertaining blogs or ads. This will see your content engagement increase [providing your message is compelling of course], generate leads and drive revenue.

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making the most out of sponsorships

It’s no secret that sponsorship opportunities in small business are often disregarded due to their sizeable cash commitments and poor return on investment. However, some business owners think sponsorship is good for “getting the brand out there”. Unless you’re a big brand like Coca-Cola with the marketing budget to match, “getting the brand out there” isn’t a good measure of success for small business marketing. It’s getting the customers “in here” that matters most.

Uber Eats has made the most of their sponsorship of the Australian Open and are clearly the standout brand of the tournament, up against ANZ, Kia and AGL. They’ve squeezed as much value out of their sponsorship as they could which I am sure resulted in a significant return on investment.

Instead of just handing over large sums of cash for sponsorships and waiting for an event to happen in the hopes that it will “get the brand out there”, consider the opportunities that are available to you before, during and after the event. If you’ve sponsored something that is aligned with your brand and target market, you have an opportunity to deliver a message to an audience who is engaged with a high chance they are aligned with your brand, product or service.

It doesn’t matter on the dollar figure. What matters most is the idea and the strategy behind that idea. Uber Eats [I think] created brilliant advertising that captured the attention of their audience at the right moment, leaving a lasting impression and I can only assume a sizeable return on investment.