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Uber TV Ads Have All But Disappeared Amid IPO

Uber was one of the most hotly-anticipated tech IPOs coming into 2019, and finally went public this past Friday. While things haven’t gone well since then, the more curious question around the business is where their advertising has disappeared to?

As Business Insider recently covered, Uber spent $3.2 billion on ads in 2018, yet has been almost non-existent (on TV, at least) since the start of 2019. According to data from TV ad measurement company iSpot.tv, the Uber brand has spent $0 on television since January 1 and a little over $11 million on Uber Eats — all around the NCAA Tournament. They spent nothing before that event in 2019, and nothing since.

(Data via iSpot.tv, Jan. 1-May 14, 2019)

The March Madness spots — led by “Randy Watkins: Man of Delivery” — are the only ads to appear for Uber Eats since the start of 2018. Meanwhile, Uber put over $10 million per month into its own TV ads during 2018. That’s an abrupt shift going from that number to zero, especially with a “big” IPO coming in the same timeframe.

There are other reasons for that drop-off, of course (labor issues, legal fees), that potentially drive the brand away from advertising for the time being. With that plus some stock stumbles in mind, who knows when they’re back on TV in earnest.