It’s been a rough few months for Uber. The popular car service app has faced scrutiny in the wake of lawsuits, claims of systemic office sexual harassment and a video of now former CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver. Drivers have chafed over persistent issues with the company, and a report from The Information found that only 4% of drivers stick with the company after a year.
The turmoil has impacted Uber’s bottom line too; while still the clear leader in the ride-hailing marketplace, it was reported in June that Uber’s share of the market declined from 90% to 75% since the middle of 2015.
Can a business reboot itself after hitting such a rough patch? Uber is giving it a try with its 180 Days of Change campaign, designed to entice drivers to stick with the company. Uber has rolled out a series of changes based on driver feedback: a new payment system, built-in tipping, beefed-up driver support, long trip notifications and more.
To drive the changes home, Uber rented out Bengies Drive-In Theater in Middle River, MD, and encouraged local drivers to come for the day. In addition to showing the movies It and Lego Ninjago, Uber offered snacks, drinks, carnival games with prizes and streamed the NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders.
Uber worked with The Bindery, a New York production company, to create the branded venue, which included authorizing a local artist to create a retro-themed mural and decorate the area with themed signs. In addition, event personnel in logoed shirts (featuring the event’s “Uber Drive-In” logo) served up drinks and popcorn in ’50s-era branded cups and gave out Uber-branded blankets, says Alexandra Valasek, head of consumer communications for Uber.
But the experience wasn’t limited to Baltimore. At 10 other Uber Greenlight Hubs around the country – locations where local drivers can get assistance – Valasek says drivers were given a movie package which included movie tickets, candy, a custom-branded popcorn bag with freshly popped popcorn and a custom tote. In addition, the drivers received information explaining all the upgrades in the 180 Days of Change Campaign since the program launched in June.
The theme of the event was “flexibility,” and according to Britt Williams, head of driver marketing strategy at Uber, it’s important in the company’s “180 Days” campaign to demonstrate its commitment through actions. “So much of our relationship with drivers happens through our technology,” Williams told AdAge. “It’s really important to connect face-to-face in the cities where our drivers live and work, and given the rich history of Bengies Drive-In Theatre, we felt it was a perfect fit.”