What began as a fun and clever commercial went too far when it made light of a serious life-threatening allergy, forcing Uber Eats to change it after backlash.
Uber Eats released a 60-second Super Bowl ad starring popular celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer from "Friends," along with David and Victoria Beckham, Jelly Roll, and Usher.
The ad, which was released Feb 6., revolves around the theme of forgetfulness, highlighting how Uber Eats is there to rescue you if you happen to forget anything.
In one of the scenes, a man is shown eating peanut butter as his face is swelling up and breaking out in hives. He starts reading the label and asks, "There's peanuts in peanut butter?" as he’s realizing that he’s having an allergic reaction. He continues, "Oh, it's the primary ingredient."
Shortly after Uber Eats shared the ad on social media, people began criticizing the tone-deaf joke.
“It’s 2024. 1 in 13 children have deadly food allergies, including mine. A woman died weeks ago from a mislabeled cookie containing peanuts. Our community is already in pain from this preventable tragedy. Shame on you. You have a big platform and an even bigger responsibility to have a little ounce of decency. Shame on Jill Hazelbaker (the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs at Uber) and anyone else who approved this,” said a commenter.
The Food Allergy Research and Education nonprofit also released a statement condemning the ad.
“We are incredibly disappointed by Uber Eats use of life-threatening food allergies as humor in its Super Bowl ad. The suffering of 33M+ Americans with this condition is no joke. Life-threatening food allergy is a disease, not a diet,” the nonprofit shared.
While Uber has not released a statement on the matter, on Feb. 9, FARE notified the public that they had spoken to Uber and that the company had agreed to update the ad.
By the time the Super Bowl came around on Feb. 11, Uber Eats released an updated version of the ad in which they had removed the scene featuring the man eating peanut butter. This updated version aired during the broadcast of the Super Bowl.
However, as of Monday afternoon, the original version remains on YouTube and Instagram.
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