Victorian Taxi Association shows claws to Uber with wildlife rescue donation

Association lashes out at the UberKittens promotion this week with its own donation to Wildlife Victoria

The Victorian Taxi Association (VTA) has pounced on Uber’s ‘UberKittens’ promotion earlier this week with its own donation – this time, to Wildlife Victoria.

The association announced it had made a contribution today to Wildlife Victoria in support of their efforts to rescue and assist injured, orphaned or distressed native animals.

In its initial statement, the VTA said the donation was a direct response to the ‘UberKittens’ promotion, which it labelled the “latest in a string of glib marketing campaigns from a company more interested in finding ways to promote their own brand than providing a safe and legal transport service”.

The group had initially said the donation was aimed at helping Wildlife Victoria control "feral" wildlife. This has since been amended and clarified as a donation to assisting Wildlife Victoria's emergency response services in helping injured, orphaned, sick and distressed native animals.

The VTA criticised the timing of Uber’s feline stunt, pointing to hearings for 11 UberX drivers in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court yesterday following prosecution by the Taxi Services Commission. The hearing has since been delayed.

“Uber’s efforts should focus more on preventing alleged incidents like those that happened on New Year’s Day and complying with Victorian law,” the association stated.

“Our contribution to Wildlife Victoria will support efforts to combat the impact of introduced species on the Australian landscape.”

The VTA also pointed people to a petition on Change.org against Uber using rescue animals for a PR stunt: https://www.change.org/p/uber-please-end-using-rescue-animals-for-a-pr-stunt-cute-for-us-but-terrifying-for-these-babies. At time of press, more than 900 people had signed the petition online.

For the Uber Kitten promotion yesterday, the shared car services company has partnered with animals shelters across six Australian cities to bring kittens to its customers while they’re in the office for a 15-minute cuddle.

The initiative was aimed at encouraging Australians to put their disposable income into caring for neglected animals and asked consumers to donate $40 for the privilege.

While it was successful when it first debuted in the US last year, the Australian promotion has provoked some concerns for the welfare of these furry friends.

The rather controversial PR stunt also comes after Uber was forced to recognise a number of high-profile issues with its service, such as a surge in pricing during the Sydney Siege, and allegations of rape against one of its drivers in Sydney on New Year's Day.

Director of CP communications and author of From Unknown to Expert, Catriona Pollard, said the one thing Uber’s kittens stunt did successfully was grab attention.

“It used two things almost everyone loves - baby animals and cute cat photos - and combined them with the virility of social media. On the surface, the adorable factor was through the roof. It was also clever in highlighting Uber’s offering,” she commented.

“But we stop there. With any public stunt of this nature, careful thought needs to be put into considering the potential negative fallout.”

In this case, Uber and/or its agency partner didn’t cater for animal lover backlash or subsequent petition, Pollard said.

The VTA’s response to the Uber stunt, meanwhile, is unnecessary, reactionary and also potentially risky, Pollard said.

“There’s no authenticity there,” she claimed. “When a brand goes head-to-head with its competitors in a marketing sense, it’s very risky and very rarely results in a positive outcome. This is a perfect example of that.

“VTA needs to stick to its own strategy, its own messages, rather than get lured into public mud-slinging matches with rivals. This is not the road to social media or business success.”

Editor's note: This article has been amended following clarification from Wildlife Victoria that its efforts are around rescuing distressed native animals, not feral cats, as previously stated.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

JP54,D2, D6, JetA1 EN590Dear Buyer/ Buyer mandate,We currently have Available FOB Rotterdam/Houston for JP54,D2, D6,JetA1 with good and w...

Collins Johnson

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. It’s really impressive.Click Here & Create Status and share with family

Sanwataram

Predictions: 14 digital marketing predictions for 2021

Read more

Nice!https://www.live-radio-onli...

OmiljeniRadio RadioStanice Uzi

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in