I am a huge Uber fan and resist the temptation to write about them every week.  I think Uber is clever and disruptive and has stick-to-itiveness that personifies the American spirit.  Plus, it’s the cheapest way to get around Manhattan so I’m always in.

I was driving through the city recently searching for a parking garage so I could park and then Uber around the city (yes, I do believe Uber is now a verb!).  You can imagine my delight when I found myself behind a giant MTA bus with an Uber ad plastered on the back of it. The in-your-face (literally) ad on the back of the vehicle/industry challenging it is audacious.


(Of course I lost the image from my phone! But this is what it looked like. Photo credit: Tony Abraham)

I knew that it was just an ad recruiting Uber drivers, but still.  Is the MTA required to allow competitors to advertise on their buses?  I might have had something to say about that if I was on the MTA board, but here we are.

At any rate, Uber has a number of nontraditional ways of marketing itself. For a fun list of its shenanigans, see here.  The nontraditional marketing stunt that I’m drawing attention to today has taken place for the past three years on President’s Day.  It’s called Ubercade.


In select cities, including Washington D.C., riders could select a special “Ubercade” option on their mobile device and “summon their own personal motorcade, consisting of a Cadillac STS escorted by two Suburbans (adorned with U.S. flags) with the entourage completed by Uber ‘Secret Service’ Agents” (Mitchell, 2015).  There is no additional cost for the Ubercade.  Yet,  because demand is high, not everyone will score the presidential treatment, but those that do take to social media to make sure their friends know their VIP status.


Experiential marketing is an emerging form of interactive marketing.  Our reading this week noted,

Erik Hauser, founder of the International Experiential Marketing Association, defines experiential marketing as “connecting customers with your brand through one or more meaningful and relevant experiences while appealing to both rational and emotional behavior. In its truest form it elicits a visceral, positive reaction from the consumer.” Adds Hauser, “Experiential marketing is a methodology, not a tactic!”

I love Uber’s “methodology”.  I appreciate the out-of-the-car thinking that it embraces.  You need ice cream? We’ll get that for you.  You’re drunk? Hop on in.  Forgot roses on Valentine’s day? We’ll take you from zero to hero.  Instead of being a mere ride hailing service, Uber’s USP is its ability to be an interactive problem-solver.


Ben from Brisbane.  (2014, November 13).  Turning heads…[Facebook status update].  Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/ubercade?source=feed_text&story_id=709368399103448

Mitchell, Mo.  (2015, February 16).  President’s Day: How Uber riders in DC got to cruise like Obamatoday.  ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/presidents-day-uber-riders-dc-cruise-obama-today/story?id=29005541

#UBERCADE ad.  (2015, Feburary 16).  [Online image].  Retrieved from http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/uber-presidents-day-motorcade-115228


Week Lesson 6: Non-Traditional Media & Interactive Marketing.  (2016).  West Virginia University Reed College of Media. [eCampus]. Retrieved February 16, 2016 from www.ecampus.wvu.edu

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