Uber Eats leverages the star power of Mark Hamill, Patrick Stewart

The Force is strong with Uber Eats. The food delivery segment of the ridesharing company not only purchased rival Postmates for $2.65 billion in July, but gross bookings for Eats in the second quarter jumped 113% while Rides declined 67% during the same period. The pandemic has led to more people staying home and ordering food, which has presented companies like Uber Eats, DoorDash and GrubHub with a huge opportunity.

Sales tracker The NPD Group found that delivery orders at the height of the pandemic in March climbed 67%. Meanwhile, DoorDash has pushed its valuation to $16 billion, but Uber Eats now commands a solid second place. Eats has been trying to capitalize on its momentum with some savvy marketing. Most recently, the company aired a series of spots with Mark Hamill and Sir Patrick Stewart, known best for their respective roles as Luke Skywalker (Star Wars) and Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek). The commercial implicitly conjures up images of the famous entertainment brands closely associated with these iconic actors without naming them or using any images from the films. Uber Eats can benefit from the association and fans’ adoration for the franchises without paying hefty licensing fees.

By not-so-subtly framing the spot as Skywalker vs. Picard, Uber Eats is creating marketing that is not only entertaining but memorable. It has grabbed the attention of mainstream media, and that’s always a good sign. “Hiring a celebrity isn’t a guarantee that a campaign will succeed,” said Janine Cannella, VP of Marketing at Interpret. “In this case, the clever pairing of two celebrities that span multiple generations, makes it far more likely that the campaign will increase Uber Eats’ mindshare.”

It doesn’t hurt that Star Wars and Star Trek are perennially among the most popular entertainment brands in America. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, 40% of the US considers itself a fan of Star Wars and 31% is a fan of Star Trek.