When I first opened the email I thought it was a joke.
Nina, the local manager for Uber in my area, was letting me know that they were partnering with the Humane Society to deliver furry, lovable kittens for cuddle sessions … for a small $30 snuggle fee. Wow … Really? (I thought excitedly.)
The fact is, I love cats (don’t tell my dog)… but my husband is not a big cat fan — especially after our last 12-year-cat-from-hell stint with the Tasmanian devil that I took pity on and rescued from a shelter. That little bundle of evilness barely let me scratch its head before he raked his incredibly long and sharp claws across my hand and arm. But that’s a story for another day.
For this promotion, making a modest financial gift to the Humane Society while Uber delivers kittens right to my office seemed like a no-brainer.
It turns out that other cities across the US were doing the same thing — as well as in Canada and Australia. The Humane Society/ASPCA/Local Shelter, partnered with Uber drivers to try and help raise money and increase adoptions.
West Michigan reported that their shelter raised nearly $1,000 during their four-hour event — and 83 percent of their participating kittens were adopted. In fact the demand was so high they couldn’t even make it to all the businesses!
In 2013, the first year of this cross-promotion, three cities raised $15,000 and found homes for 100 percent of the traveling kitties. So that makes it a definite win-win.
Uber, who has had some challenges in Australia when they were accused of charging $100 for ride fares during a hostage crisis in Sydney, seems to have created some positive press for a change.
Personally, I love cross-promotions like this. The Humane Society wins (with both gift revenue and an increase in adoptions), businesses win (employees who aren’t allergic to cats get some much-needed kitty cuddle time), and Uber wins with increased awareness and a chance to generate some goodwill.
Now, if only I could sneak one of these sweet little kitties past my dog (and my husband), and they’d have a win-win-win-win-win!