How Uber Eats and Special Group punked Kelly Tarlton’s iconic Shark Bus to announce that it was now delivering McDonald’s in New Zealand


SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s city to aquarium shuttle is a well-known sight in Auckland. It’s been constantly ferrying sightseers from downtown Auckland to the aquarium for more than 10 years. This summer, Uber Eats, along with agency partner Special Group, gave the shark bus something to chase.


To highlight that you can order McDonald’s via the Uber Eats app and get it delivered to your door, a car-sized Filet-o-Fish popped up to cheekily tease the shark for nine days, with its crispy looking patty and ‘cooked-to-perfection-steamed bun’.

The campaign was devised by Special Group New Zealand, who developed this innovative and quirky idea and surrounding integrated marketing campaign for Uber Eats New Zealand.

Working closely with custom builders and set modellers, a road-worthy custom built Filet-o-Fish burger car was constructed and passed NZTA and LVVTA checks. The car is 30:1 the size of a Filet-o-Fish. After releasing it unannounced one morning, the chase quickly filled social media feeds, hit the front page of Reddit and clocked more than 100,000 likes.

How Uber Eats and Special Group punked Kelly Tarlton’s iconic Shark Bus to announce that it was now delivering McDonald’s in New Zealand

Says Steve Brennen, marketing director, Uber Eats Australia & New Zealand: “We were excited about this campaign as it provided a cool surprise and delight opportunity, and highlighted our quirky side that we knew would resonate with Aucklanders. It was great to bring our partnership with McDonald’s to life and the response both on and offline was fantastic. People absolutely loved it.”

Special Group worked with a skilled team of partners including Wonder Group, Fraser Cars Ltd and Cutting Innovations to bring to life the little burger car; Oddboy for the game production; Nimble and Paul Ross Jones for producing the supporting campaign materials; Pead PR for the social media and PR elements; FUSE covering social content for McDonalds.

From Tamaki Drive to Auckland CBD, the little burger car turned heads and got everyone smiling when it appeared between 15-23 February.

An Uber Eats ‘Shark Bait’ mobile game followed, taking the campaign to the whole country. The game was played more than 60,000 times in just a week.

Says Tony Bradbourne, ECD, Special Group: “The reactions were pretty funny when people saw this little guy getting chased – it stopped traffic.”

Uber Eats
Snr. Marketing Manager NZ: Caylie Honeycombe
Brand & Campaigns Coordinator: Natasha Van Der Laan
Head of Communications, NZ: Nicky Preston – Head of Communications
Head of Brand Au/NZ: Georgie Jeffries
Director of Marketing Au/NZ :Steve Brennen

Special Group
Executive Creative Director: Tony Bradbourne
Group Business Director: Marcelle Baker
Senior Account Manager: Bonnie Shum
Digital Director: Stu Mallarkey
Social & Digital Manager: Daisy Conroy-Botica
Strategy Director: Celia Garforth

Car Production
Wonder Group: Buster Caldwell
Fraser Cars: Scott Tristram
Cutting Innovations: Alec Stringer