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Seamless and GrubHub Colliding, But Which Brand Will Emerge on the Other Side?

Posted by: Darcy Newell on May 20, 2013

Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr may be dominating Internet Week news, but close on its heels is the newly announced merger between Seamless and GrubHub—two food delivery companies that target the same audience with a seemingly indistinguishable value proposition.

Two weeks ago, we evaluated the two brands and their ability to use creative expression to differentiate where they cannot through functionality alone in our post Subway Standoff: Using Brand Voice to Stand Out, One Train Car Ad at a Time.


GrubHub is the burly, unexpected, anything-for-a-laugh comedian. Seamless is the refined older sibling who knows everything about you, but refrains from judgment. It comes down to a matter of taste—literally (the restaurants you’re connected to) and figuratively (the brands’ personality and marketing style).

Today, the companies announced their intent to merge, bringing together their technological capabilities, and broadening their restaurant access and domestic and international presence. The merger would also enable the two companies to trounce up-and-comers like Delivery.com and Eat24.

From a business perspective, the decision makes perfect sense, and consumers who toggle between the two will rejoice in the new simplicity, and, ahem, seamlessness.

GrubHub Ordering

But it poses an interesting question—what will happen to these two, well-formed brands? Will they veer in one direction over another, try to bring them together (SeamlessHub, anyone?) or create a new brand entirely?

In our last post, we argued that by tapping into the desires and trends of its target audience, Seamless has created a more compelling expression—one that may ultimately connect users to the brand beyond the moments they spend using the service.


However, both brands are successful, and part of what makes them so is their commitment to a central idea, weaving it through their name, visual identity, and voice and messaging. If, in coming together, they try to be everything to all people, the new, consolidated brand might lose it’s way, failing to be something special to anyone.

This is only just beginning to unfurl. We’ll be watching, observing, and sharing our thoughts, but we want to hear from you, too. What do you think should happen? Should one brand remain strong, or will a hybrid identity emerge?

Comment below and tweet to us at @Interbrand with #Seamless #GrubHub #IWNY.

Darcy Newell is a Consultant in Verbal Identity for Interbrand New York.

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