Uber’s New Advertising Campaign Doesn’t Suck

mike gellman
Mike Gellman
Apr 20, 2020

Uber did something right!?!?

Yup! You heard me – the company that’s usually in the news for it’s feckless founder’s misdeeds, endless labor violations, an inability to deftly manage the inherent flaws in its business model, or any number of other gross transgressions that made Uber less popular than Monsanto and Phillip Morris combined has provided us with an empathetic hug at a time
when we really need it.

This hug comes in the form of its Thank You For Not Riding commercial, which shows a variety of people dealing with the quarantine in a variety of different ways. It’s a tearjerker that rivals Google’s old man super bowl ad for overt heartstring tugging. It’s also a great example of a company successfully leaning into the current situation.

With the exception of UberEats, it’s clear that not much is going to help Uber in the short term. So, they played the long game by doing what’s good and just. By commiserating, they are humanizing themselves, and they certainly could use some humanizing. By telling people that they shouldn’t use their service, they’re declaring (whether they believe it or not) that there are some things more important than the bottom line.

This is brilliance in branding and advertising. When all returns to normal, there will be a halo around Uber and they will be in a better position to recover. This is a strategy that most companies should embrace. This pandemic is a reality and it’s not a pretty reality. Still, it will end sooner or later. And, when it does, be ready!

Of course, in the hierarchy of needs, survival certainly is tantamount, but once that’s covered, get forward-thinking. There will be so many opportunities! Put yourself in a position to pounce on those opportunities. Endless great companies, including Uber, flourished in the shadow of economic crises. Figure out how to be one of them. That’s quarantine time well spent!

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