Uber is at war with the taxi industry. Between citizen's arrests, State Government raids and massive fines, the ride-sharing service has bent noses out of shape all over Australia. The war for our streets between the multi-billion dollar app giant and the local taxi industry monolith is now taking a turn for the adorable (and the ridiculous). The weapons are adorable animals, and the objective is to win hearts and minds. Welcome to the world's most transparent PR war for Australia's transportation dollar.
Yesterday saw Uber take adorable kittens around to people's homes and offices so that users could post photos to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with cute animals for the entire 15 minutes they were allocated.
And it went quite well, too. Check out how it went down on #the #social #media:
Of course it was a stunt.
A stunt designed to endear folks to Uber while getting hyper-connected social media addicts to do Uber's PR job for it by posting photos of cute kittens, associated with the ride-sharing brand. It also had a side-effect of actually being cute, fun and donating money to animal shelters. Of course, it should go without saying that if you want to help adorable kittens that you should drive (or taxi or Uber or whatever) to a shelter and adopt one yourself.
Almost 24 hours after Uber decided to endear itself to the public using kittens, it was on for young and old with the Victorian Taxi Association (VTA) decided it would also get in on the cute animal fun, but issuing a passive-aggressive press release heralding its donations to wildlife protection funds.
Here's the thirstiest release I've ever read from the VTA:
Cute animals? Check. Slamming Uber? Check. Discouraging more people from driving for the Uber X ride-sharing initiative? Check. It's got everything the taxi council wants in a press release, and counts as a salvo burst from an industry desperate to be seen as equal to or better than the new kid on the block.
No doubt we'll see a press release from Uber later on in the day saying how much money they contributed to the cause, and how awesome it makes them.
Thirsty opportunism aside, the new battleground for your taxi dollar seems to be in who donates the most to cute animals, and therefore looks the most "human". The happy side-effect of two billion-dollar enemies fighting in this case is that animal welfare groups are going to benefit from some much-needed funding and exposure.