An interesting discussion with Bozoma Saint John, Uber’s recently installed CMO, who comes from Apple. When asked why the marketing program she is launching, that characterizes the company as a foundation of a new pop culture, does not address Uber’s many PR problems, she replied:
Q: Why not address those controversies in your marketing, though?
Saint John: It’s such a serious matter that it’s very important that it be addressed internally, as a process shift, not a marketing shift. This cannot be a marketing ploy. I’m an employee too, and it matters to me that we change. We can utilize pop culture and other things to talk about the brand, but these things that need to be fixed need to be fixed and are not a marketing agenda.
It is hard to imagine how Uber’s daily appearance in the news as a potentially abusive employer that rides roughshod over city and regional laws can be ignored. The idea that celebrity drivers and pro-athlete riders will gloss over the underlying public concern about Uber is a stretch.
And, aesthetically speaking, because pop culture’s official ride will be yesterday’s news tomorrow, the campaign flies in the face of the freedom of expression pop culture purportedly represents.