Uber’s PR woes are well-documented, but this might be the most misguided yet. As pointed out by Valleywag, Uber’s big promotion over the weekend tapped into the atrocity of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. It was called “BostonX.”
“This weekend, people will come together from all over the globe to celebrate human perseverance in the city of champions,” Uber wrote in a blog post. “In the spirit of the Boston Marathon, we’d like to show appreciation to some of the amazing drivers that have been helping Bostonians get around the city over the past year.”
Those BostonX drivers included local police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, coaches, etc. Which, well… good for them. “Get picked up by a local hero within the Boston community, yet another reason that our city has always been revered as the City upon a Hill,” the email continued. “Simply open up your app and swipe all the way right to the ‘BostonX’ view and request a car. All BostonX rides are at UberX rates.”
To its credit, Uber did say it was donating $20 for every new rider who signed up using a promotional code to the United Way. But the overarching sentiment of the promotion strikes us as tone deaf, especially when “don’t worry about surge pricing this weekend” would have sufficed. Nevertheless, the message was hammered out over Twitter all weekend long:
Lest we forget.