Seamless in LA: Taking a New York City Staple Across the Country

Say Seamless wanted to launch its service in Los Angeles during the Summer of 2020. How would we make an impact despite an ongoing pandemic?

About the Project Seamless has already launched in LA, but without significant buzz. Our ask was given just before nationwide lockdown, and we were allowed to adapt to it or pretend it wasn't happening. Our team decided to challenge ourselves with branding in a global crisis.

Background: What is Seamless?

Seamless launched as the first food delivery service in New York City in 1999. They started with a B2B model before opening to consumers in 2005.

Seamless merged with Grubhub in 2013, which has allowed them to expand their services.

As a branch of Grubhub, Seamless now has the resources to infiltrate other markets and expand its business.

Much of LA's culture is rooted in food, making it the perfect city to venture into as a delivery service.

Despite market saturation, Seamless has remained the market leader in its hometown. Its strength in NYC culture has been tough to beat.

How does a company that roots itself in NYC culture expand to other markets, particularly to its rival city?

The Objective

Immerse Seamless into the city's culture the way they've succeeded in New York City.

The Opportunity

The Problem

Significant Challenges

No Home-Court Advantage

Much of Seamless's NYC success is due to its strong roots in the city. In LA, they are transplants; Seamless will have to prove themselves to be accepted as a member of the community.

Entering a "Rival" City

The constant comparisons made between the two cities has fueled longlasting tension between the coasts. Seamless will need to acknowledge and adjust.

The COVID-19 pandemic

The lasting effects of a pandemic require brands to be more than just brands. To build trust, Seamless must be action forward when entering the LA market.

Consumer, Culture, and Brand Truths

Under Normal Circumstances

The truths that hold without the presence of COVID

Under COVID-stances

How a global pandemic affects those truths

Our Strategy with Both in Mind

How those truths interact with each other to form a direction

The Audience: Who Do We Talk To and How Do We Do It?

Raised in LA, they are active members of their community with a deep-rooted love for their culture-rich city.

They Eat Local and Live on Delivery

They don’t have time to sit in LA traffic, so they are avid users of delivery apps. They chose to eat at local spots rather than large chains, even if that means traveling further or waiting longer.

COVID-19 Threatens More than their Health

They are concerned about the health of the community and are already feeling the loss of the small businesses that may not make it through. They want to support them in any way they can, big or small.

They’re not actively looking for a replacement in delivery service, but they’re not fully satisfied with the service they have. They’d rather use one that shows they care for their community.

They want a service that does more than delivery.

Due to pandemic protocols and lasting hesitation to leave home,

Seamless will rely on paid social and TV to reach them.

Launch Timeline

Because of the unprecedented nature of a pandemic, we chose to adopt a situation-based approach instead of a traditional calendar communications plan.

Phase One

The Now

The threat of COVID-19 is still keeping the country in lockdown. How can we help the people of Los Angeles stay comfortable at home?

Phase Two

Things are Looking Up

The threat is still ongoing, but travel restrictions have loosened. How can we maintain safety precautions while aiding in the transition?

Phase Three

Back to Normal

Protection protocols have been lifted and Angelenos are back to life as they used to know it. After working to build trust, Seamless can fully launch with activations and campaigns.

Phase One

Objective: Enter with Care

Virtual Book Clubs

Helping independent bookshops profit from pandemic-induced reading and reconnect them to a city at home.

The Problem

In response to stay-at-home orders, the Los Angeles Times and other popular book clubs have moved their weekly book club meetings online. 

But people can't get their books.

The Solve

Offer book delivery from independent shops through Seamless.

With Seamless's resources, the service is able to fill the shipping to-your-door service that most small shops are unable to provide. Providing the ability to donate directly to the shop in app is another way that we can help the community support their favorite stores.

Food Truck Delivery Support

A staple in the streets and stomachs in LA, food trucks are struggling amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

The Problem

Most delivery services shy away from food trucks. While many vendors thought they could survive the pandemic, sales have dipped as much as 70% for most (as of April 2020).

Lockdown procedures do not allow for normal food truck operations, further devastating these small businesses.

The Solve

Add food trucks to Seamless's ever-growing list of partnerships.

By offering commission-free partnerships and free delivery to patrons, we can bring these businesses back to their city.

This also allows for low cost OOH marketing opportunities for Seamless, as trucks are wide, unused ad spaces that often move from location to location.

Social Distance Date Night

Lockdown procedures are especially hard for those who don't live with their significant others.

The Problem

Social distancing guidelines have forced many couples to figure out new ways to stay connected and keep the romance alive.

The Solve

Date night isn't dead... it's just different.

For the LA x NYC lovers, Seamless LA will work with its better half to connect lovers to their better halves. With the Seamless Social Distance Date Night, one person can coordinate dinner delivery for both parties within the app, with dinners getting delivered within 5-10 minutes apart.

This, of course, can extend to couples separated within city limits, but why not take the opportunity to further connect the two cities?

Phase Two

Objective: Transitioning

Beach Delivery

Angelenos are itching to get back to their beaches, and public spaces are likely to be the first to reopen.

The Problem

People have spent weeks cooped up inside their homes, longing for the thrill of summer. Once public spaces open, the thought of going back inside for a bite to eat may be unfathomable.

The Solve

Let Seamless bring their lunch to the beach.

Instead of creating havoc for drivers trying to find one beach towel in a sea of umbrellas, branded kiosks will serve as a delivery point. Multiple locations will be set along the water of LA's famous beaches and piers, with preference going to restaurants that are closest. Customers can order through the app as usual, designating the manned kiosk closest to them.

Jet Ski Delivery

For a limited time, boaters don't have to choose between a day at sea and a quality lunch.

The Problem

With summer comes boating weather,and those who boat are even harder to reach than beachgoers. Boaters are also likely to opt for a brought-from-home meal to avoid having to dock on the shore to grab some food.

The Solve

A difficult problem requires a creative solution: jet skis. For those who crave tacos miles out to sea, Seamless will hire certified jet ski operators to deliver meals boat side, whether sunbathing on a yacht or cruising along the coastline.

At this point, the threat of the pandemic is starting to wane, and the Seamless brand is able to experiment with stunts like this. 

An Expansion of the Donate Your Change Initiative

Bringing an existing and well-received part of the Seamless experience to LA, but adapting the program to its specific needs.

The Problem

Much of the city may be getting back to normal, but the city's most vulnerable populations will be worse than before. LA is home to the biggest population of food insecure people in the nation, and COVID's effect on employment and the economy is likely to exacerbate the problem.

The Solve

Along with the Seamless Community Relief Fund, Seamless would partner with local organizations, such as the LA Food Bank and Good Food LA, to provide meals to those struggling with food insecurity.

The program, which allows customers to round up and donate the difference, is easily adoptable in LA. As we believe in the strength of the Los Angeles community, we'd expand the donation process to include custom donations to encourage a greater impact.

Phase Three

Objective: Bring in the Brand

Announce Our Arrival

Seamless is known in NYC for taking advantage of local landmarks and neighborhoods in their advertising.

The Opportunity

Like New York, LA locals hold deep connections with sites around the city.

Where Seamless Plays

Using projectors, Seamless "takes over" ten famous LA landmarks across the city to show Angelenos that Seamless can reach any part of the city they occupy.

Whether in Griffith Park or on the Santa Monica Pier, Seamless can reach you.

Support Local Art

Los Angeles is known for its art scene, and the credit goes to its artists.

The Opportunity

A drive through West Hollywood or Venice is littered with large painted murals by new and veteran artists.

Where Seamless Plays

In an effort to continue to inspire LA, Seamless can buy wall space and donate it to local artists looking to put their stamp on the city.

Alongside using mural space on free-standing buildings, Seamless can provide its partnering restaurants with the opportunity to become works of art.

Connecting with Culture

The skating scene in LA is unrivaled anywhere else and remains an untapped market.

The Opportunity

Though hard to confirm, LA is widely considered to be the birth place of the sport. Home to renowned skate parks and competitions, thousands of Angelenos spend their day skating around the city.

Where Seamless Plays

Every summer on Go Skateboarding Day, Nike hosts events and demonstrations with their athletes at famous parks around the country.

With LA as a hub for skateboarding, the city is positioned for a particularly special partnership. Seamless can offer free delivery and special offers from partnering restaurants to skateparks across the city.

An Estimated Calendar

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