• Junto HKIS

GrubHub’s Saving Face on Twitch

Erika Hornmark

March 11, 2021



GrubHub has become a dumpster fire in the last year. Although GrubHub doesn’t extend its services out to Hong Kong, unfortunately, the implications of the disastrous ‘GrubHub Dance ad’ have spread far beyond GrubHub’s Chicago headquarters. But it appears that GrubHub is attempting to get in good graces with the public after the blunder, releasing a new campaign targeted to a younger demographic through the use of Twitch live streams. The announcement was released on GrubHub’s Instagram earlier this month by GrubHub’s CEO.


The video that landed GrubHub in this position is the infamous ‘Delivery Dance’ advertisement GrubHub presented to its 37,000 subscribers on YouTube in November 2020. The video starts out innocently enough, until the music unleashes a Splatoon-Wii-Game fever dream of various adult caricatures dancing while eating food presumably ordered off of the food-delivery site. One of the child caricatures in the video, whose role was staring at his dancing father with bewilderment, looked just as confused as I was when watching the ad. The combination of inelegant dancing, limp fist-pumps, and drop-splits made for a somewhat unforgettable 30-second experience. The only realistic thing about the video was the caesar salad, which seemed to be a cut-and-paste PNG file transplanted onto the hands of a blonde cartoon.


The ad, aiming to draw customers and attention, has scored the opposite with many of the viewers. The video itself has over three times as many dislikes as likes, with 435,000 dislikes and 131,000 likes. Commenters on YouTube pressured GrubHub to turn off their comments on their video, but the new restriction had little impact on the criticism dished out. By the time GrubHub had disabled comments, hundreds of YouTubers released their own commentary videos and parodies criticizing and remaking the video to make it less “awkward.”


The best renditions come from YouTubers who have a personal vendetta against some of the cartoon dancers. YouTubers have published videos titled “GrubHub Commercial but the Salad Girl gets what she deserves” and “grubhub commercial but smoothie girl breaks her leg”.


In a desperate attempt to make up for their colossal failure of an advertisement, GrubHub’s CEO, Matt Maloney, has unveiled his new undertaking: Twitch streams sponsored by GrubHub. Specifically, paying streamers to record themselves eating various food offered on the app. The announcement was first made on their Instagram, where they uploaded a ‘remix’ of the infamous ‘Delivery Dance’ advertisement, with the steps — similar to sweepstakes — to becoming a GrubHub-official ‘Twitch ambassador.’ The post itself has garnered over ten thousand likes, a far cry from their typical range of 200 to 500 likes on their Instagram posts.


Since the new advertisement plan was revealed, GrubHub’s Instagram comment section has been flooded with requests from Twitch users offering their services of streaming them eating food ordered from GrubHub. It appears that GrubHub’s plan of attack is to sponsor up to one hundred Twitch streamers to record ‘mukbangs’, or the Korean term for online audiovisual broadcasts, where the host eats excessive amounts of food for the enjoyment of the viewer. While it is unclear how much GrubHub is willing to sponsor these individuals, one must imagine that the sum is likely to be rather hefty, with an emphasis on pro-GrubHub propaganda from today’s influencers.


While Maloney still has to establish a roster of Twitch streamers willing to help save GrubHub’s face from becoming a permanent laughing stock of the food delivery community, one can not help but wait to see how the innovation in online advertising is going to be received by the general public.


Image from Google Play