Uber Eats nailed for misleading TV ad

The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has deemed an Uber Eats advertisement misleading in terms of the Code of Advertising Practice.

According to the ARB report, Rina Hartzenberg brought the advertisement to the regulator, which she believes suggests that Uber Eats customers can order from multiple restaurants at once.

The ARB agreed with Hartzenberg in its ruling, describing the advertisement as follows:

The television commercial features a group of four friends toasting a “birthday girl”, then deciding to order some food to celebrate. One muses “chicken Thai green curry”. The birthday girl then fantasises about a hamburger with a sparkler in it — the visual cuts away to this scene. A granny on a scouter encourages her to live her best life, as she’s not getting any younger. We cut back to her party and she tells her friends she would like to order a double cheeseburger. The other women are sceptical, but she says, “it’s my thing.” We hear a doorbell. An Uber Eats package is handed over, and we see the five women enjoying their food. The birthday cheeseburger is visible, but one girl is eating what appears to be a green curry, while another is eating something with chopsticks. The pay-off line is “Uber Eats. We’ve got your thing.” The commercial closes on a top view of the table, where we see a hamburger, a green curry, a burger and chips, and sushi. “Uber Eats. Get Anything” appears on screen.

Hartzenberg submitted that Uber Eats is giving its customers the perception that they can order food from various restaurants in one order.

However, Uber Eats’ terms and conditions specify that customers can only purchase food from one merchant per order.

The closing segment of the Uber Eats commercial in question

Given the opportunity to comment, Uber Eats told the ARB that no scene explicitly shows a customer placing an order — from a single restaurant or multiple merchants — through its app.

“The intention of the advertisements is to show that multiple types of food are available on the Uber Eats app,” Uber said.

“Users can decide to either order such foods from several different vendors/restaurants in different orders, or several types of foods from one.”

“In light of the foregoing, Uber submits that the complainant has no merit in relation to any false or misleading advertising,” it added.

The ARB reviewed the advertisement and Uber’s response in terms of Section II, Clause 4.2.1 of the Code of Advertising Practice.

The clause specifies that advertisements shouldn’t contain any statement or visual representation which directly, or by implication, commission, ambiguity, inaccuracy, exaggerated claim or otherwise, that could mislead consumers.

Upon review, it found that Uber’s claim that the advertisements don’t show a customer completing an order is false, as the characters and scenes in the commercial show a believable step-by-step process to submit an order.

In addition, the ARB noted that the advertisement shows one person with their phone out placing an order, rather than each person submitting their own.

“It also shows one delivery in one bag, not many,” the ARB added.

The regulator deemed the commercial misleading and in breach of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code of Advertising Practice.

“The advertiser is instructed to remove or amend the commercial in question within the deadlines set out in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, which in the case of television advertising is immediately, as deadlines permit,” it ruled.

Head of marketing for Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa, Mel Gischen, told MyBroadband that it is disappointed with the ARB’s ruling regarding the advert, adding that its consumer surveys indicated that it was not confusing in any way.

“It is our view that the statements put forward were sufficient and clear to prove that the BOUJEE television commercial was not misleading and we disagree with the decision,” Gischen said.

“Our consumer surveys conducted to test the campaign had positive results and did not label the BOUJEE television commercial to be confusing in any way or that orders from several restaurants are made in one delivery.”

“While we disagree with the ruling, we have considered the views of the complainant and the Advertising Regulatory Board and decided to remove the BOUJEE television commercial from the air while considering ways to avoid the issue from surfacing in future.”

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Uber Eats nailed for misleading TV ad