Through New Year's Day we're counting down the best brand campaigns and ideas of 2020.
No. 9: Protests against racial injustice became a common sight across the country this summer, and many brands shared messages of solidarity. Uber, though, asked people to delete its own app. The message was directed toward racists, encouraging them to stop using the platform (and noting that racism is against the service’s community guidelines). The campaign from Wieden & Kennedy included billboards in cities hosting protest marches and a co-sponsorship of one march in Washington, D.C. It followed Uber’s push from earlier in the year that similarly “sacrificed” the brand for the greater good—it thanked users for not riding with Uber in their efforts to keep others safe during the pandemic.
August 28 marks the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. To mark the occasion, Uber has partnered with Wieden+Kennedy on an integrated racial injustice campaign that pulls no punches: “If you tolerate racism, delete Uber,” it asserts.
Uber is delivering that message across social media, in emails, app notifications. It also features on billboards appearing in 13 major U.S. cities in support of the thousands gathering in the nation’s capital to commemorate the March on Washington or planning their own marches across the country. The outdoor signs also state, “Black people have the right to move without fear.”
In emails and notifications, Uber is also sharing the ACLU’s Protesters’ Rights guide, which advises protesters on steps to protest peacefully, such as keeping hands visible. Uber is also a co-sponsor of today’s “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” march in Washington D.C.
On a new microsite, Uber is sharing how it plans on “ridding its platform of racism,” including supplying riders, drivers and customer support agents with anti-racism and unconscious bias resources. Uber also states it plans to “formalize” and “expand” a group to identify racial bias within its products, helmed by an Inclusivity and Accessibility Product Lead. It will also work with NGOs to broaden its internship and fellowship programs.
The site goes on to lay out Uber’s previous commitments, such as giving $10 million to support Black-owned businesses, $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative, a $0 delivery fee for Black-owned businesses and doubling its supplier spend with Black-owned businesses.
“As a company that powers movement, our goal is to ensure that everyone can move freely and safely,” the company states on the site. “To do that, we must fight racism and be a champion for equity—both inside and outside our company.”
"This is less about advertising and more about activism," says Uber VP-Global Marketing Thomas Ranese. "It's a strong stand against racism. We want to remind people when they use Uber, whether to ride or drive, they commit to our community guidelines which do not tolerate racism of any kind."
The campaign follows in the footsteps of its previous coronavirus campaign, also from Wieden+Kennedy, in which the brand put itself aside for another higher cause and thanked users for not riding with Uber.