Not content with delivering people home after a night out, rideshare service Uber is getting festive.
Lucky city dwellers in three cities around the world are being treated to Christmas tree deliveries at the tap of a smartphone in another one of the startup’s marketing ploys.
These have also included ice cream delivery in London on the hottest day of the year, shaving on demand in Dublin at the end of Movember, and then there was Uber Kitten. Yep, that’s kitten’s on demand. For 15 minutes, anyway, and to promote National Cat Day and cat adoption.
Last Christmas 10 cities stateside were being offered Christmas tree delivery in a partnership with retailer Home Depot. The stunt hasn’t been repeated this year.
The man behind the idea, nicknamed the “deal guy” according to the FT, is none other than Uber exec Emil Michael, the man at the centre of a media storm after suggesting investigators should be hired to dig up dirt on journalists hostile to the company. While Michael remains with the company, perhaps he’s keeping a lower profile for the moment.
Amid this and many other controversies at Uber, the startup is now worth $40bn after raising a new round of funding. That’s more than Twitter, LinkedIn and Netflix and many established firms. The firm is however using these stunts as a serious test for potential business expansion in the future.
More serious ventures to expand Uber’s services, rather than just seasonal publicity stunts like Christmas trees, include courier service Uber Rush and Uber Fresh, a fast-food delivery service. Founder Travis Kalanick told Bloomberg earlier this year: “The logistics, or moving things as well as people, is icing on the cake. We are doing experiments right now. It’s too early to know how it all works out.”
While Uber isn't going big on the Christmas tree thing this year, in the ever lucrative "Uber for X" model, Brooklyn-based startup Alpinely has sprouted up to serve New Yorker's Christmas tree needs over the festive season.
If it's in Brooklyn now, we're predicting there will be a fully formed tree on demand delivery service in London by this time next year.