Pho, Anyone? Grubhub Suggests People 'Try Something New'

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Grubhub Try Something New - Chimichanga
Grubhub Try Something New - Chimichanga Credit: Grubhub

Grubhub's new campaign suggests maybe it's time to stop ordering the same thing.

The online restaurant ordering company still wants people to use its services to order restaurant delivery, of course, but now it wants to tease people's taste buds. So Grubhub asked people to try new foods for a series of new digital videos that, if successful, may expand in 2018 and have the potential to run as TV spots.

"We really need to show the full experience of someone ordering food on Grubhub," says Jessica Burns, senior director, brand marketing, who's been with Grubhub for a year.

Grubhub is up against a variety of competition, from restaurants that handle their own delivery to chains that partner with other delivery platforms, such as McDonald's successful tie-up with UberEats. And there's room to grow: Only four in 10 restaurant users buy food for delivery at least once a month, according to a report out this month from Boston Consulting Group. Grubhub is substantially ramping up marketing after acquiring more competitors this year as it keeps trying to handle more orders and to get current customers to order more often. Grubhub's sales and marketing expenses are expected to jump more than 30 percent this year, executives said last month. Such costs jumped 33 percent year-over-year to $35.1 million in the third quarter.

Seven new videos show people ordering and trying dishes including pho and sushi, with text definitions of the dishes. One woman claims she's never tried a chili dog, which Grubhub defines as "a hot dog garnished with chili con carne and optional condiments."

In one spot, a grandmother who has never had sushi dines with her young, sushi-loving granddaughter. "The grandma legitimately did not like sashimi," says Burns.

The "Try Something New" ads (the company's calling them a "video content series") will run on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and elsewhere online, including the company's website. They're meant to showcase the variety of food available through Grubhub, while a TV spot currently running focuses on the process of Grubhub delivery after spots earlier this year took another unscripted approach.

The people in the videos could choose from a list of different cuisines. Once the food arrived, the camera started rolling. One woman says she has eaten "pretty much every single body part, except for the brain," but had never tried a chimichanga. So that's what she ordered.

Another spot shows a pair of businessmen and friends who opt for Ethiopian food.

If they perform well, Burns hopes to add more videos in early 2018 and sees the potential for the idea to be featured in TV spots, though there aren't any plans for TV versions yet. Plus, the online videos are on the longer side, with some near the 60-second mark.

The videos were shot in Los Angeles in partnership with Madison & Vine.

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