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When a brand misses the boat: Uber riders feel the pinch at Vauxhall

10 May 2016 Jim Harrison,

Heavenly Brand Agency -

In what was a frenzy of people being evacuated by the thousands – reams of office-goers were left stranded, frustrated and slightly panicked after a fire broke out at Vauxhall Station. Left to fend for themselves, most went in search of alternative public transport waiting for five or six buses to pass before eventually giving up on the idea entirely.

For a friend of mine, there was only one sensible solution at this point – get an Uber.

After the stress of a traumatic morning (some described in moments as ‘mass hysteria’), Uber was a welcome friend – until of course, the 3.8 surcharge resulted in a £80 ride. Shame.

In what would have been an incredibly opportune moment for a brand like Uber to adapt their services, they (quite carelessly) missed the point… and as a result they missed the boat.

As one of the finest examples of responsive marketing genius, Oreo cookies infamously pulled together a brilliant ad in a matter of minutes at the Super Bowl blackout in 2013 which then went down in the ‘Social Media Hall of Fame’ as one of the most shared ads of that time.

If virality is something that is so lauded over, it’s disappointing to see that brands like Uber fail to capitalise on the mass support they would have gained by prompting their London customers – just to let them know they were there for them!

A simple discount on rides for those around Vauxhall would not only have been well received, but would have gained Uber the status of the people’s champion. Instead, they came off as inconsiderate, probably lost more loyalty points by word of mouth than they realise – and undoubtedly lost any traction they had with the London public in a time of need.

Poor show, Uber.

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