What is the first thing that come to our minds when we hear of “Uber”? The company that revolutionized the way we travel and has now inspired many start-ups that are based on its business model. Almost every millennial who lives in the areas that Uber serves has the Uber app in his/her phone. And that is an indicator of far Uber reaches and its potential to reach even further.
To those who are more connected with the company’s recent news, they know at least a bit of recent bad press Uber had to face due to alleged sexual allegations against the CEO and also a bit surprised of the company’s recent entry into autonomous driving technology.
But little do we know of the impact that Uber has made in the biggest country of the world, Russia. And that impact is not where you’d generally think it’d be. It is more in the social sector rather than the transportation sector.
Through the #UberSearch campaign, Uber has collaborated with Proximity (Local Russian NGO) and the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs to search for missing children which is a major problem in Russia. Statistics shows that in every 30 minutes, a child gets missing in Russia. So what UBER did was very simple but highly creative. It just took advantage of the social custom in Russia where vehicles are painted with unique portraits to be easily identifiable in case of theft to have the picture and details of missing children painted on vehicles of volunteering Uber partners. The experiment proved to be successful through the fact that one child out of the three whose portraits were painted on cars was found when a witness alerted the authorities about Yana who was missing since 2017.
But the most positive thing that came out of this initiative was how the reach of Uber helped spread the message about these missing children comparing how the previous approach of posters were almost useless.
Think about how small leaflets and posters stuck across footpaths where pedestrians are more likely to be glued to the screens of their smartphones. What do you think that approach of awareness accomplish?
Uber has addressed that problem by putting the message as an alert every time a passenger accessed the app. Also as Uber partners went just about everywhere and carried the portraits of those children along, the outreach of the campaign was almost ubiquitous.
The different approach attracted social media, news websites and TV channels which then earned $1.2 million of media activities through $0 investment in that sector.
This campaign has demonstrated the power of a company who has the means to create a huge impact. Imagine what apps like Facebook which had geo-mapped every 15 foot of this world and Snapchat, one of the most popular apps used today can do if they joined initiatives like this?
Which one would you notice more? A poster of a missing child with their parents’ number posted on a side wall which you almost never noticed existed or a notification on Facebook telling you that this child who used to live nearby is missing?
Wouldn’t it be easier for you to report a lost child through facebook or putting it on snapchat our story feature?