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Johnnie Walker powers alcohol safety message with free Uber rides


Safe driving campaigns serve as a way to build brand loyalty and awareness, such as AT&T?s It Can Wait program. These actions enable brands to emit a positive ambiance, elevating their reputation in consumers? eyes.

?Uber ultimately is a proximity-based marketing network,? said Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. ?Rich data allow for hyper local targeting. 

?Waze, Google?s recent acquisition, is also exploring advertising strategies in its map based application,? he said. ?The Diageo partnership is a simply toe in the water for the holiday season. 

Mr. Schwartz is not affiliated with Uber or Johnnie Walker but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Social double downs
The free Uber rides, which will be available in London, Manchester and Leeds, are being offered due to a new law in Scotland that has reduced the blood alcohol driving limit from 80 milligrams to 50 milligrams. 

Johnnie Walker thinks it will be able to provide 30,000 British residents with free rides through the allotted 250,000 kilometers.

To boost its international expansion, Uber has garnered $1.2 billion in further funding and has been most recently valued at $40 billion. Participating in the British campaign with Johnnie Walker will even further push its expansion efforts.

Johnnie Walker is further promoting the campaign on JoinThePact.com.

Also on the Johnnie Walker U.S. Facebook page, an ad encourages viewers to join the pact and take the pledge to not drive and drive. Visitors to the page will notice a counter keeping track of the number of commitments to the pledge that have been made as well as the number of safe rides given measured in kilometers.

The Facebook page has a list of tweets using the collaborative hashtag #ImNotDriving.

Racing star Mika Häkkinen is the spokesperson for the campaign.

Johnnie Walker has also created a visually interactive YouTube video to promote the campaign?s efforts. In the video, scotch glasses gather to form the shape of a racecar and then start moving forward, resulting in a crash and extensive shattering of all the glasses. The action then plays in reserve to bring the car back in concrete form.

Johnnie Walker is using the video to make a point of suggestion to not drink and drive. Mr. Häkkinen appears at the end of the video along with the hashtag #ImNotDriving.

By providing a direct, alternative opportunity through Uber, consumers are more likely to participate in the campaign. Consumers, always enticed by giveaways, are more willing to promote a brand?s efforts that deliver benefits to them as well.

Multiple collaborations
Uber continues to grow exponentially through partnerships with other companies. 

Uber?s partnership with Resy to let consumers book a primetime table at a New York restaurant and then order and pay for taxi transportation via smartphone is a recent effort to meet the growing demand for convenience sparked by the mobile mind shift.

The integration reduces to just five screen taps the process of making a reservation and arriving at the restaurant. It reflects the influence of Uber, the mobile application that allows users to order and pay for taxi service via smartphone, on an ever-widening swath of the mobile marketplace as consumers demand more integration of mobile functionality and service (see story).

Hyatt Hotels recently began integrating its mobile application with the Uber ride-service app to make it easier for guests to get from their current location to their Hyatt hotel.

By using the Uber button located under the My Reservations section of the Hyatt app from the day of check-in until the end of their stay, guests can use available Uber transportation and receive information about the estimated price of the trip for each option.  The update shows how hotels are responding to guests? demands for experiences that integrate mobile functionality and hotel service (see story).

?Ultimately Uber has the potential of going beyond POI advertising and exploit on of the most value real estate destinations of the phone, such as the map," Mr. Schwartz said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York