Uber takes to the rails – but why use it to book?

Uber takes to the rails – but why use it to book?

The Background

Uber wants to be a mobility solution however you travel, and that means going beyond the Prii (yep, the plural of Prius as defined by a Toyota campaign) that crawl around London.

After taking to the Thames with Uber Boat, the inevitable has happened, and Uber now lets you book trains.

Useful? Perhaps.

The Big Idea

A massive media buy across railway advertising spaces, with snappy copy that reimagines what we know about Uber, but for railways.

How it worked

I did think it was just a huge OOH campaign, but there are other elements to it. We’ll start with the most visible element though, the OOH.

It’s all about the copy with these, it’s smart and simple. Lines like “Your ride will arrive in 3 minutes on Platform 4” and “Split your ride with 200 people” work so well that arguably the “Trains – now on Uber” at the bottom could disappear and it’d still work.

My favourite of the OOH placements were those listing the names of the passengers about to depart.

Smart and funny TVCs play on similar Uber moments – asking the driver if this is their ride and requesting drop off “anywhere near the station”. Whilst these weren’t plastered everywhere, they got the message across as simply as any other format did.

The review

I can’t fault the copy on the ads, they’re instantly recognisable and easily understood by anyone that’s ever used Uber, which is ultimately its (wide) target market.

The media buy was massive, but I saw these ads for at least three weeks before doing anything about it, why? 

The lack of why – why should I book a train with Uber? The answer is so simple, the 10% back in Uber credits for every pre-booked train.

Sure, creatively I can see why another message was avoided, and the results might suggest otherwise, but it felt like that 10% back in credits message could have been simply conveyed quicker and given a reason to act. 

That said, I’ve noticed that message is in more of the collateral now and certainly got me on board – raking in those free cab rides for later in 2024!

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