Elton John and Lil Nas X are Uber Eats' latest celebrity duo

Campaign from Special Group takes a new turn to promote all kinds of delivery with the help of the music stars

Published On
Sep 09, 2021

Editor's Pick

Uber Eats’ “Tonight I’ll Be Eating” campaign has become pop culture crossover central, matching up unexpected celebrity pairs including sci-fi icons Mark Hamill and Patrick Stewart as well as Simon Biles and “Queer Eye” host Jonathan Van Ness. Today, the brand enters the music world with its latest duo: Elton John and Lil Nas X.

Uber Eats' latest spots from agency Special Group and directed by Smuggler’s Guy Shelmerdine take the campaign in a new direction. Not only do they promote food delivery, they also pitch Uber Eats’ grocery, alcohol and convenience offerings with the help of the musical superstars.

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John, a legend whose career spans more than five decades, and Lil Nas X, a modern-day hip hop groundbreaker, find themselves together in John’s absurdly lavish abode enjoying the spoils of their fame as they ponder on what to have for dinner, among other things.

The integrated campaign consists of five spots, along with multiple out-of-home executions, paid social and digital creative and more.

One 30-second ad, for example, shows both entertainers atop coin-operated kiddie rides. Lil Nas X places his order for a buffalo chicken panini while John decides on “salmon sushi with a Japanese jiggly cheesecake," his Britishisms adding both confusion and humor to the scenario. The doorbell rings and the two receive their meals in appropriately glitter-adorned Uber Eats takeout bags.

Another spot highlights the difference in their culinary preferences. Sir Elton orders his fries with a side of mayo, so Lil Nas X sings, “That’s weird, so weird.”

 

Georgie Jeffreys, head of Uber Eats marketing in the U.S. and Canada, says that the company decided on the pair because “we wanted to capture a certain unapologetic mood while featuring trailblazers who made us think differently about culture and creativity.”

“While Elton John and Lil Nas X come from different generations and different genres, there is such a fantastic similarity that they share,” adds Dave Horton, executive creative director at Special Group U.S. “Seeing them together seems to amplify their force.” 

 

Before joining the campaign, the pair already happened to be in a mutual admiration club, previously having expressed their respect for each other. They also recently collaborated on a new song to appear on Lil Nas X’s “Montero” album and John’s “The Lockdown Sessions.” The track, “One of Me,” also features in the new push. 

The ads appear as if the artists had a ball during the shoot, one-upping each other's extravagant outfits—some of which they actually borrowed from each other. Thanks to an idea from John and his team, one spot features John wearing Lil Nas X’s famous pink cowboy outfit while the latter dons John’s iconic "Crocodile Rock" rainbow feather costume. The pair teased that spot with a blooper version on their social media channels yesterday. 

Given the ups and downs of the pandemic, Jeffreys says the brand's marketing strategy has evolved according to the varied needs of customers, its "earners" (delivery workers) and merchants. She adds that it helps that the “Tonight I’ll Be Eating” campaign has provided a flexible platform to create around. “Whether the world is opening up or closing down, we want to remind folks they can get anything they need to be delivered via Uber Eats, from paper towels to champagne, to French fries with a side of mayo.” 

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