Uber Eats’ peanut butter mistake shows how a Super Bowl ad can go awry
Uber Eats will apparently remove a scene from its Super Bowl ad depicting a man having an allergic reaction to peanut butter, following backlash from some consumers and food allergy advocates — a difficult situation that branding experts say could have been… avoid it.
The ad begins with a production assistant handing Jennifer Aniston a bag of fresh flowers, lotions and other goodies in a green Uber Eats bag. “I didn’t know you could get all these things with Uber Eats,” the woman says. “I have to remember that.”
“Well, you know what they say,” Aniston replies, patting her on the head. “In order to remember something, you have to forget something else. Make room a little.”
It’s the setup for a parade of different characters — some celebrities, some not — who forget something important just so they can remember how much you can order through Uber Eats.
Then comes a seconds-long scene in which a man reads the ingredients on a jar of peanut butter while waving a spoon, his eyes bulging shut and hives breaking out all over his forehead: “There’s peanuts in my peanut butter?”
“Oh, it’s the staple,” he says, nodding in mid-anaphylaxis. The announcement was made online ahead of Sunday’s big game.
watched Uber Eats asks consumers not to forget about them in a new ad:
Food allergy advocates didn’t find it very funny.
The Foundation for Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) said Friday it was “surprised and disappointed” to see Uber Eats joking about “life-threatening food allergies.”
Song Poblete, CEO of the nonprofit group, later said in a memo that she had spoken with the company and that it was ending the scene.
Others also wondered why a food delivery company that offers allergy-friendly options would joke about an allergic reaction.
“It seems to us that Uber Eats doesn’t understand this consumer base, because if they did, they wouldn’t have chosen to add this to their segment,” Jennifer Gerdts, executive director of Food Allergy Canada, said. An original copy.
“I think for the food allergy community, they’ll look at this and say, ‘Uber Eats doesn’t understand me.’”
Uber Eats did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CBC News.
“It’s not smart”
“When it comes to humor, a brand really needs to decide what’s funny they want to play with, and what’s not funny to them,” said Alina Mazhar Kuzma, senior vice president and managing director of Fuse. Create, a Toronto based advertising agency.
“And I think for Uber Eats, food shouldn’t be funny. It’s what they’re offering consumers the most, so making a joke about it isn’t smart.”
Kuzma said she thinks the commercial is funny and effective, noting that the brand is trying to move away from its reputation as a food-only service to a delivery company that can do it all.
Brands like Bud Light and Pepsi have faced ad-related backlash in recent years, alienating parts of their consumer base. Bud Light, which became a flashpoint in the culture wars last year over its campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, is trying to recover from the double-digit sales decline that followed.
In 2017, Pepsi pulled an ad featuring reality TV star and model Kendall Jenner after a wave of criticism and ridicule. The ad showed Jenner offering a police officer a can of Pepsi during a protest meant to evoke the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that erupted during the decade.
Kuzma pointed to other instances where risk-taking on the part of the brand can be taken. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream “is a great example of a really political brand that takes a lot of risks, and what they’re talking about, they’re OK with alienating small communities,” she said.
For example, in 2020, the left-leaning company released vegan ice cream in honor of Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who was previously embroiled in controversy for refusing to stand during the US national anthem.
But for brands like Bud Light and Uber Eats, which aim to appeal to the masses, “you really have to come out with a message that has this kind of universal human insight,” she added.
“You want everyone to always think of you as a brand that can serve them and serve them, and when you start taking away that — like with this small scene — it takes away that, where a group of people don’t go ‘I don’t think you’re for them.’”
There is a long precedent for Super Bowl ads being re-edited or removed after public criticism — or in anticipation of such criticism.
In fact, Uber Eats may not be the only company scrambling to fix an ad before the Super Bowl on Sunday. Online gambling site FanDuel is It said Re-edited commercial featuring the late actor and football player Carl Weathers, who… He died earlier this month.
Other examples include an ad published by vacation rental company HomeAway in 2011 titled “Test Baby,” which featured a rubber baby being thrown into a maternity ward window. Some viewers felt it glorified violence against young children, prompting its CEO to apologize and show a re-edited version of the ad in which the child was arrested.
Or in 2015, when a GoDaddy commercial showed a puppy falling out of a truck and wandering home to be sold by its owner, sparking backlash from animal rights groups.
A Change.org petition with 42,000 signatures demanding the removal of this ad was the writing on the wall.
The Super Bowl is “a really big theater to take such a big risk when you don’t need to take it,” Kuzma said.
(tags for translation) eats