Why Uber's Peanut Allergy Commercial Is Causing Serious Trouble

On February 6, TODAY got first looks at Uber Eats' star-studded Super Bowl commercial featuring Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, David and Victoria Beckham, Jelly Roll, and Usher. Leading with humor, the messaging of the ad is that in order to remember all the great benefits Uber Eats has to offer, app users must make space in their brain by bumping some other piece of information from their memory out. This leads to a montage of comedic scenarios, including Jennifer Aniston being unable to recognize her former "Friends" co-star and David and Victoria Beckham struggling to recall the name of her former pop music group, The Spice Girls.

Since the ad's exclusive release, viewers have taken to social media calling for one segment of the commercial to be edited out: a man experiencing an allergic reaction is reading the label of a peanut butter jar, stating how he had forgotten that peanuts were the main ingredient in the nut butter. Many X users (formally Twitter) — some of which stated they had children with peanut allergies or were diagnosed with peanut allergies themselves — voiced their criticism, saying that those with the potentially fatal allergy should not be made to be the punchline of a joke (via TODAY).

The ad may increase the risk of bullying for kids with peanut allergies

The ad also caught the attention of members of the non-profit group Food Allergy & Research Education (FARE). The leader of the organization, Dr. Sung Poblete, issued a public statement in response to the commercial, saying that the ad may potentially increase the risk of bullying. "These types of commercials and types of jokes allow kids to think that there's not going to be any harm and it's going to be funny," she told BBC. Reinforcing Dr. Poblete's statement, Indiana resident JD Arland told the outlet how he has faced such bullying firsthand. In describing his lived experiences with food allergies, he explains that tasks many of us wouldn't think twice about — like placing a quick Uber Eats order — are much more involved for patients like Arland, who can't always be sure as to how the food is prepared or if the restaurant received his special instructions noted in the app.

For those with peanut allergies, Mayo Clinic experts explain that exposure to even the smallest amounts of the nut can lead to anaphylaxis. Requiring urgent medical attention, symptoms of anaphylaxis include airway constriction, throat swelling, trouble breathing, dangerously low blood pressure, a rapid pulse, and more. Presently, it is not clear as to whether Uber will be editing the ad, which is set to air on Super Bowl Sunday.