UberEats drops the puck on its Quebec strategy

Patrick Roy and Mario Tremblay burying the hatchet over a meal is the first effort the brand is making to stand out in the province.

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During game five of the Stanley Cup playoff series between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, viewers on TVA saw something they might never see.

No, it wasn’t the fact that the Canadiens managed to pull out a win and keep their playoff hopes alive. It was an UberEats ad featuring former Habs goalie Patrick Roy and coach Mario Tremblay actually appearing in the same room together.

Habs fans will recognize the campaign, created with Mosaic Canada, as the end of a feud that has been going strong for 26 years.

In 1995, the Canadiens suffered an 11-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the worst it has ever been beaten in a home game. Despite clearly having an off night, Roy was not replaced in net until he had allowed nine goals, something he interpreted as an attempt by Tremblay to humiliate him after previously butting heads. When he was finally called to the bench, Roy exchanged dirty looks with Tremblay, before the goaltender told the team’s president, who was sitting nearby, that it was his last game in Montreal. Within four days, Roy was traded to the Colorado Avalanche along with team captain Mike Keane in what has been seen as one of the most lop-sided trades in NHL history.

The two had reportedly not spoken since, but that silence was broken in the new UberEats ad, created to help the delivery service make inroads in the Quebec market.

The hero spot, in both French and English, features Roy getting an order with french fries and Tremblay eating a blueberry pie (references to nicknames from their playing days) before the tension is broken as a game of table hockey breaks out. Extensions of the campaign feature the two attempting to one-up each other in other games, like darts and chess. One of the French spots even features Tremblay suggesting Roy pull his goalie because he looks tired.

As with any playoff-tied campaign, there is the risk of its reach decreasing once Canadian teams have been eliminated, let alone one tied so closely with a regional favourite like the Canadiens. “But we found a very perfect spectrum of a relevant hockey insight that also is a very highly relevant Quebec insight,” says Sub Nijjar, president of Mosaic Canada, who says the moment will also have an organic impact with hockey fans across Canada.

This campaign is a Quebec-specific continuation of the “Tonight I’ll Be Eating” global platform, developed in the U.S. by the Special Group, which has previously featured the likes of Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World, Sir Patrick Stewart and Mark Hamill from Star Trek and Star Wars, and Simone Biles and Jonathan Van Ness.

“When we first got the brief, the first person who came to mind was Celine Dion,” says Laura Serra, ECD at Mosaic Canada. But working with its office in Montreal, the team at Mosaic discovered hockey had the broadest appeal. “In the celebrity culture of Quebec, they have their own TV stars and singers, but hockey is really their biggest source of celebrity. And the story of reuniting two legends that haven’t spoken in 26 years was that kind of bigger-than-advertising thing where we could also create a moment in sports history.”

After debuting last Thursday during game five of the playoff series, new spots launch today featuring Roy and Tremblay calling out their orders from specific Quebec restaurants, something that has become a key pillar of the platform to reflect the fact that UberEats offers local favourites.

This is the first time UberEats has made a dedicated effort to reach consumers in Quebec, which Nijjar says is particularly competitive in the already red-hot meal delivery space.

“And when you reach for your phone, you probably have a lot of options installed there already,” Nijjar says. “To be the one you go to first, that’s kind of the goal. It’s important to talk about the partners and the food and the variety of local restaurants. But mixing that with a surprising pairing like Patrick and Mario is what will break through to create the top of mind awareness and muscle memory for you [as to] which app you go to first. ”

Today also kicks off an expanded media buy – after debuting on TVA Sport, the French version of the campaign is now also airing across RDS, RDS2, TVA Sports, TVA, and RC, with the English spot airing on the NHL Hockey Network. There is also a full social and digital buy behind the campaign targeting Quebec.

Despite hockey’s relevance, Mosaic is also looking outside of the game for the next step in UberEats’ Quebec strategy. In the coming weeks, another campaign will debut, featuring two musicians Serra describes as being among “the biggest Quebec artists of all time.”