Advertising at Uber offers brands on the Uber platform the chance to connect with consumers in new ways—whether it’s on the top of a car driving down Main Street or a virtual billboard in the Uber Eats app. Still in the early days, the team is “building an org from the ground up, which is an incredible opportunity and learning experience. We’re all founding members of something that is going to be really big,” shares Drew Mitchell, Global Head of Ad Sales based in Chicago. To learn more, we chatted with Drew about his career, the future of Advertising at Uber, and if a role on the team is right for you.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and life at Uber Chicago.
“I’m a proud Chicagoan (since 2000) by way of Idaho (born and raised in a town without a stop light), Oregon (Go Ducks!) and California (first post-college job). I live in Oak Park just west of the city, which is the home to Frank Lloyd Wright, Ernest Hemingway and Cecily Strong (for you SNL fans), among others. My wife, Christine, and I have two incredible teenagers (Flynn and Fiona) and a cute, codependent Golden Doodle. I’m a bit of an obsessive runner and will be running my 14th marathon in Berlin this fall.
Life at Uber Chicago is dynamic. We have an amazing space in the recently renovated Old Post Office building. Chicago is Uber Freight’s Global HQ and is also home to teams across our Delivery and Mobility businesses. For those that have visited, the most common refrain is “this is the coolest Uber office I’ve been to.”
Can you tell us about a few key moments in your career journey?
“After finishing undergrad at the University of Oregon, I was lucky enough to join a sports marketing graduate management program with Disney where I worked in multiple departments at the Anaheim Angels and Anaheim Ducks (owned by Disney at the time). I realized I liked watching sports more than working in them and made the jump to Tech when I moved to Chicago in 2000. My big break came when I had the opportunity to join Google in 2006 as part of their Ad Sales org supporting Large Customer Sales. I grew up at Google over 12 years and learned the core value that helping people grow is the most important thing I can do as a leader and the most important thing I can contribute to a company.
I decided to leave Google in 2017 to join Pinterest as they were scaling their Ad Sales organization. After 15 years in Ads, I had a strong desire to learn something new and was fortunate enough to run into an old friend, Kelly Seeman, who asked if I’d be interested in joining Uber to lead our partnerships with Uber’s biggest global restaurant partners such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, YUM Brands, Subway and others. In January 2022, I made the leap back to the ads world to build our Global Ad Sales and Account Management team within the Advertising at Uber org.
The most important thing I’ve learned in my career, and life, is that people will remember you most for the way you treat them and how you help them. If you treat people with respect, value their ideas and invest in their growth, you will have an outsized impact not only on the person, but on your company as well.”
What is Advertising at Uber?
“With over 100 million people using Uber around the world, Advertising at Uber presents a powerful opportunity for marketers to connect with their consumers as they go anywhere and get anything. Ultimately, the Advertising at Uber organization is responsible for creating advertising solutions that provide value for our Eaters, Riders, Merchants and Earners. Our team has various functions across Sales and Account Management, Operations, Measurement & Insight and Marketing. Building an advertising business takes a village and we work closely with our incredible Delivery and Mobility Product, Engineering, Sales, Operations, Business Development, and Legal teams.”
How did the idea for Advertising at Uber come to life?
“Advertising is often considered to be intrusive and annoying. We’ve all experienced this as we peruse the web and use our favorite apps. Done well, advertising should be additive to your experience.
That is what we’ve set out to do with our advertising products. We’re obsessed with providing our Eaters and Riders with a magical experience, so we think deeply about how advertising can enhance their experience vs detract from it.
Our Delivery Advertising business enables our merchants to effectively drive more sales via targeted advertising products such as Sponsored Listings. Delivery Ads are now live in more than 30 countries with more than 170,000 active advertisers who have seen an average lift in sales of 10%.
Our Mobility Advertising includes our innovative Journey Ads product in the Rides App and Digital Car Tops on Ubers and Metropolitan Taxi Board of Transportation cars in New York City. We’re really excited about where our Mobility Advertising business is headed and will be expanding our offering rapidly in the coming year.”
How do ads fit into the future of Uber?
“Advertising at Uber will continue to focus on delivering a magical experience for our Eaters, Riders, Merchants and Earners. From a business perspective, Advertising at Uber will be a key contributor to Uber’s goal to generate free cash flow. We aspire to be a billion-dollar Delivery and Mobility advertising business and are well on our way.”
What makes working in Sales on the Advertising at Uber team different?
“First, we’re building a multi-channel advertising platform at a company that is used every day by millions of people. When you walk into a meeting, you don’t really have to explain what Uber is. Most people in the room have taken a ride or ordered with Uber Eats in the past week. Second, we’re building an org from the ground up, which is an incredible opportunity and learning experience. We’re all founding members of something that is going to be really big. Finally, and most importantly, we’re a team that respects each other, has fun doing what we’re doing and will contribute in a meaningful way to Uber’s profitability.”
What do you look for in anyone joining the Advertising at Uber Sales team?
“The most important value I’m looking for in people joining my team is their willingness to roll up their sleeves and Go Get It no matter what their role or level. We’re building something new. Things don’t work perfectly all the time. So, we all have to be scrappy and solutions-oriented. I also want people who are humble, curious, respectful and want to have fun.”