26 August 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Administrator

Uber leaves Vancouver cold, Earnest Ice Cream admits 'mistake'

If the point of Uber Ice Cream was to get Vancouverites talking about the ride-hailing company, you can consider Friday’s promotional stunt, which saw Uber delivering free ice cream sandwiches all over the city, a success.

But if the point was to get people talking positively about Uber, maybe not.

On Thursday, Uber announced that their 25 mapping cars would be deployed throughout the city, delivering ice cream and other swag to anyone who requested it through the Uber app.

Vancouverites were understandably giddy. But by Friday’s end, they were much less so. 

Right from the moment the promotion began, many users were met with an “Ice Cream Unavailable” message, as demand far outpaced supply throughout the day. While hundreds received the free ice cream sandwiches that Uber had promised, hundreds more did not, despite their best efforts, and took to social media to air their grievances. 

At 11 a.m., when the promotion began, the hashtag #ubericecream began trending locally on Twitter as an excited city awaited their free frozen treats.

To make matters worse, less than an hour after Uber Ice Cream ended, Earnest Ice Cream, which had provided the ice cream sandwiches, issued a statement distancing themselves from Uber.

“Dear Community,” the statement began, “we made a mistake.”

“Last week we made an agreement to sell ice cream sandwiches to a business whose values do not align with our own. As we educated ourselves more thoroughly about Uber, we recognized that this is not a good fit for us. We apologize for not doing our due diligence ahead of time and we hope to rebuild the trust that may have been lost with some of you.

“We are serious about our goals to create a more socially just and inclusive city and community. As relatively new business owners we continue to learn (and sometimes stumble). It’s hard to do so in such a public way and we appreciate the people who have drawn our attention to the places where we can do better.”

According to Earnest co-owner Erica Cash, the company began to get nervous about partnering with Uber after the promotion was announced on Friday, and negative comments about Uber’s business practices and corporate culture began flooding in.

“I was unaware of those,” said Cash. “And I think for us as people that own a company, we do work very hard to ensure that we are good employers and that we provide an inclusive environment, so I guess just some of the things, the perception or accusations surrounding Uber, perhaps, are just a different culture.”

But by the time they came to that realization, the promotion’s reach had already grown far beyond what the local ice cream company expected. 

“We received a few comments here and there and that made us kind of look into it more and more, and at the time we had just been responding on an individual basis and just reaching out to people that way,” she said, “and then today we realized it was on a much bigger scale than we thought the promotion would be.

“It was an initial oversight on our end,” Cash said. 

“The overall feeling for us is that we just know it’s not a good fit.”

Still, Uber views the Uber Ice Cream promotion as a success.

“Uber Ice Cream was about connecting people in Vancouver with a local entrepreneur and help contribute to a worthy cause,” said Uber spokeswoman Susie Heath. “Today we delivered hundreds of Earnest ice cream sandwiches and raised thousands of dollars for The Vancouver Sun Adopt-A-School Fund.”


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