Yes, you read that correctly. If you lived in Seattle, New York City or San Francisco on October 29, you could eat some cupcakes and play with cute kittens for just $20.
That was a recent marketing campaign from Uber, a San Francisco-based mobile app development company that specializes in connecting people with professional drivers for hire.
The “I Can Has UberKITTENS” operation celebrated National Cat Day (because that apparently exists) as an adorable marketing ploy. The folks at Uber teamed up with a ridiculously popular meme site, Cheezburger, to deliver kittens on-demand in Seattle, New York City and San Francisco.
Anyone living in those cities just had to download the Uber app (ah-ha!) and during certain hours of the day could request the “KITTENS” option on the app. Depending on availability, kittens would then be delivered to their location for 15 minutes, along with cupcakes made by chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Bakery (and made famous by “Ace of Cakes” on the Food Channel).
All of the money was donated to the city’s local animal shelter. The shelters were then able to foster kitten adoptions. Uber also created a hashtag, #ICanHasUberKittens, for everyone to use on social media.
And the company swiftly learned that it had struck gold with its creative campaign – social media exploded with tweets and photos of people with kittens … and people begging for kittens to be delivered. Seems Uber wasn’t expecting the response to be so overwhelming. Company CEO Travis Kalanick ended up tweeting an apology for the lack of available kittens once they realized every single person living in Seattle, New York City and San Francisco wanted a 15-minute snuggle.
This is one of my favorite tweets to come out of the whole thing: Mick Thompson typed, “I will switch to @lyft if they can bring me kittens in the next 30mins. #uberKittens” (Lyft is a competitor company to Uber.)
All in all, it seems like the campaign was a hit, even despite the kitten shortage (I can’t believe I just wrote that). Hopefully most of the fury friends were adopted and are now lounging in the sun beams of good homes. It just goes to show how some creativity, a good cause and some shameless self-promotion can boost your company’s name while benefiting the community.