Taxis: The Best Ads Uber Will Ever Need

We don’t really know what YourTaxis was thinking when they launched a twitter campaign to get Victorians to tell their taxi story through the hashtag #yourtaxis. Aussies hate taxis, and the company’s attempt to get people to share heartwarming stories about cab rides has turned into a public piñata.

Sometimes mutual suffering really does create the strongest bonds, and the people have mobilized, each to tell their own taxi horror story: from cabs that smell like armpits (who hasn’t been there), to finding oneself sitting on a seat covered in the vomit of your predecessor, to appalling reports of physical and sexual assault.

It’s not even clear that everyone is complaining about a Victorian cab either. It seems that the wrath is directed at the category as a whole — and YourTaxis volunteered to take one for the team.

YourTaxis’ spectacular social media fail is indicative of the industry’s general lack of understanding of human interaction: according to figures compiled by BrandData, the average social media engagement rate within the taxi/short term car hire category is low, at only 0.40%.

A peek at BrandData’s tally of the most social brands in this category shows that three of the top four brands are members of the ‘social economy’ — Uber, GoGet, and Car Next Door. Unsurprisingly, Uber is number one.

However, one taxi company, 13 Cabs, beats all the above brands at Twitter, and has a higher social media engagement rate than all of them — at 2.54%, more than six times the average engagement rate. And that’s because 13 Cabs isn’t busy inviting the wrath of an entire country, but instead is occupied with tweeting about local events and businesses to get people to go out more, and therefore take more cabs. Treating taxis as a tourism business, rather than a transit business — now there’s a concept.

YourTaxis’ twitter page is currently filled with apologies, promises to do better, and brave statements about sticking with the campaign so that they can “own up” to its consequences. Unfortunately, amidst their attempt to correct the situation, they compounded the disaster with more mistakes. Three days after the #yourtaxis debacle, they tweeted this…

One step forward, ten steps back. Someone needs to tell YourTaxis to lay off the social media for a while. Meanwhile, like the rest of us, Uber will probably just sit back, relax, and enjoy the schadenfreude.