Uber selects R/GA as its global social and creative agency

15 January 2021 Consulting.us 3 min. read
More news on

Branding and innovation consultancy R/GA is now in a global partnership with Uber, tasked with managing the social media mandate for its two biggest segments by revenue – Uber Rides and Uber Eats.

R/GA has been named the "social agency of record" – the official manager of all social media activity for the two Uber segments. Positioning is key: R/GA plans to use data-driven insights to inform creative community engagement programs, with the end goal of making Uber the brand of choice in urban centers globally.

Operationally, this means combining R/GA’s versatile business transformation and marketing capabilities – global content studios, marketing sciences, and social teams – to “develop Uber’s brand voice and shape its perception at a local level,” per a statement from the consultancy. R/GA’s global and local teams will join forces to this end.

Uber selects R/GA as its global social and creative agency

“This is such an exciting opportunity to bring our global network together and deliver breakthrough creative work for what has become one of the most essential brands in the world,” noted R/GA’s global chief creative officer Tiffany Rolfe.

R/GA will work with MediaComm – named Uber’s global media agency of record in October – to come up with a strategic blueprint for the path forward, complete with standardized performance indicators and a connected hub to coordinate marketing activity worldwide.

Turning the corner

For Uber, R/GA’s appointment signals the firm is looking to turn the corner after being hammered by the pandemic in 2020. The company saw rides decline 75% year-over-year (YoY) in Q2 2020, and 53% in Q3. “Over the past year, we have focused our efforts on keeping our cities moving and supporting those who needed it the most,” said Uber’s director for social media & social Travis Freeman.

Following global lockdowns in the first half of last year, Uber Rides – usually comprising two-thirds of its revenue – saw net operating incomes decline by a staggering 90% in the second quarter of 2020. The company’s multi-pronged response involved cost cutting to remain profitable on an adjusted basis, while focusing on key urban centers across the world as they emerged from lockdown.

Working in Uber’s favor was the boom in Uber Eats revenues – driven by the overall increase in food, grocery, and consumer product delivery amid lockdowns and infection risks. In the second quarter of last year, Uber Eats more than doubled its revenues to reach the $1.2 billion mark. The success was even enough to prompt an acquisition – that of food delivery service Postmates for more than $2 billion.  

While this was enough to tide over an extremely challenging year, 2021 brings the promise of a vaccine and a more open economy – pushing Uber to focus on its high-revenue ride-hailing segment again. “Food delivery has become critical to many people’s lives and as the world opens up, Uber will help us get moving again,” said Rolfe.

In a challenging market where spending is low and competition rife, branding will be key to winning out in the new normal. “Now that we’re slowly entering a new phase, we need a partner who can support us with helping cities recover. R/GA not only has a proven track record at a global scale, but their team also reflects the diversity of our riders, eaters, and earners.”