Uber Launches a Global Creative Review and Begins Talks With Media Agencies

Deutsch will retain lead U.S. creative duties

Initiative has handled U.S. media for the ride-hailing giant. Getty Images
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Uber has launched a review seeking its first global creative agency partner and has started talks with media agencies for an unspecified assignment, according to sources who spoke with Adweek on background.

The ride-hailing giant is reportedly looking for a single agency to handle its brand campaigns around the world. The review comes several months after the company hired former Beats marketing executive Bozoma Saint John as its chief brand officer and named former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as its new chief executive officer following the departure of Travis Kalanick.

“We are always looking for world-class global agencies,” said an Uber representative who did not elaborate on the specifics of the company’s agency lineup.

According to one source, the review will not affect Uber’s relationship with U.S. creative agency partner Deutsch, which won project-based work last summer but does not maintain a presence outside the U.S. A Deutsch spokesperson declined to comment on the news today.

Another source indicated that Uber has also issued an RFI to unnamed media agencies. IPG’s Initiative is the incumbent on the U.S. planning and buying business, but a spokesperson today said, “Initiative will not be participating in any review that Uber calls.”

Uber works with a variety of agencies in the U.S. and abroad but rarely publicizes its relationships. Multiple sources have also told Adweek in the past that the company does not allow its partners to promote their own campaigns. In September, Uber sued Dentsu’s Fetch Media for fraud, accusing the mobile agency of taking credit for illegitimate clicks and app downloads. Fetch has denied all accusations, which stemmed from Uber’s desire to remove its ads from the right-wing website Breitbart.

The company faces increased competition on the marketing front from Lyft, which signed Wieden + Kennedy New York and DigitasLBi San Francisco as its creative and digital media agencies of record earlier this year.

Uber’s spending totals were not available at the time of publication.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.