Campaign of the Week

14 December 2021

Taxi app Heetch gets Uber to deliver its ads 

Ride-hailing app challenges market leader with packaging stunt in France, increases brand preference 23%

Challenge / Paris-based ride-hailing app Heetch has low awareness in a market dominated by Uber. With a limited budget of €15,000 ($17,000) and no media budget, Heetch wanted to create a campaign to raise awareness of its brand and convince Uber users to choose Heetch instead for their next rides. 

Solution / Working with Marcel, Paris, Heetch identified restaurants around Paris that deliver their food to customers using Uber Eats. Working with these restaurants, Marcel created 12,000 Heetch-branded meal boxes designed to transport the food made at those restaurants, such as burger boxes and noodle pots. 

Each piece of packaging was printed with a message such as ‘We too are hungry, but not for our drivers’ money’, ‘We won’t make you change your favourite meal. Just your ride-hailing app’, and ‘Your pizzeria pays its taxes in France. Why not your ride-hailing app?’ – all targeted at Uber.

Heetch distributed the packaging for free at its chosen restaurants and the stunt launched on the evening of Sunday 21 March (Sunday night is when Uber Eats is most active). When customers made an order to a participating restaurant on Uber Eats, they were presented with the custom Heetch packaging.

Results / The campaign led to a 23% increase in brand preference, an 8% increase in ‘intent to try’ and 7.8 million media impressions with €0 media invested. 

Contagious Insight 

Channel a challenger mentality / Everyone loves an underdog, especially when the top dog is Uber. The much-maligned ride-hailing app has faced hostility in France in the past, with violent protests led by taxi drivers against UberPOP (which enables anybody to become an Uber driver) erupting across France in 2015. Leaning into its challenger brand origins, Heetch plays on this anti-Uber feeling and cheekily hijacks Uber’s own food delivery network to take digs at the brand, drawing attention to controversy about how it pays its drivers and (allegedly) not paying its fair share of tax France. Delivered via bright pink food packaging, the media channel is cute and the digs feel tongue-in-cheek. But the message is clear: next time you need a ride, why not choose the little guy?

Jump on a cultural insight / Historically, the French have fostered a healthy aversion to American cultural exports. One example is the initial outrage with which Euro Disneyland was met when it opened in 1992 (it was described by one journalist as ‘a cultural Chernobyl’). Another slightly more extreme example is the case of five local farmers tearing down a new McDonald's (the ultimate symbol of America) in Aveyron, France, to protest American beef imports. In any case, the French are inclined to buy local (an attitude hypermarket chain Carrefour has had to navigate, which you can read more about in our Brand Spotlight), with a survey by research firm TNS Sofres revealing that 88% of French shoppers thought buying something manufactured in the country supported domestic economic growth and employment. By positioning itself as the local, French-made opponent to a San Francisco-born giant, Heetch appeals to the French sense of patriotism and inclination to shop with home-grown brands.

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