Digital story, BrainJet, October 2015
Working for a viral content startup was frequently a little weird. But cute? Cute didn't happen every day. Not until Uber announced that it would bring kitties straight to our office door, that is.
For the #UberKittens project, I arranged for the kittens' arrival, mapped out video production strategy, interviewed the animal shelter folks and wrote items for a number of Gateway Media's verticals. The company hadn't previously reported on events in real time, and we subsequently racked up mega pageviews and video views.
By Allison Babka
Photo by Jake Scheidl
There's no pussyfootting around it — Uber's idea to deliver adorable kitties to offices, schools and homes on #NationalCatDay was genius, and we've got the photos to prove it.
Here at BrainJet headquarters in St. Louis, we were eager to try #UberKittens, a program that the on-demand transportation service runs once a year to celebrate cats and spread adoption awareness. For four hours on October 29, 2015, Uber drivers partnered with animal shelters and chauffeured kitties throughout more than 50 cities, encouraging animal lovers to consider adopting a shelter pet.
Requesting a cat play date was pretty simple — we just opened Uber's mobile app and selected the kitten option. At first our souls were crushed when we saw the "no kittens available" alert flash on our phone, but Uber eventually found some sweet, sweet kittens for us. Twenty minutes later, an Uber driver and a vet tech from the Animal Protection Association of Missouri were standing in our conference room with three adorable mini-cats. SQUEE!
Kittens Jack, Jordan and Jay were all under seven months old, and they seemed oddly OK with 20 strangers reaching for them. They exited their travel crate and immediately began exploring the conference room and sniffing at our cooing coworkers. It's didn't take long for us to fall in love with the sweeties.
We learned that in St. Louis, four Uber cars were delivering three cats to each location for 15 minutes and that these adorable kitties represented the 100 or so APA cats that are looking for loving forever homes. The APA vet tech mentioned that kittens six months and under were available for $50, while cats seven months and up could go home with loving parents for any price (though a nice donation to the organization would allow the APA to continue to provide shelter kitties with medical care, food and toys).
Even better: the kittens making the Uber rounds during National Cat Day were available for adoption later that afternoon!
Jack, Jordan and Jay came with everything they'd need during a play date — litter pan and litter, towels, food dishes and more. They jumped and purred and had a ball with our coworkers. Jordan even decided to help us out with some computer work!
Our 15 minutes with the kittens flew by before we knew it, and it was time for Uber to whisk the three Js away to their next play date. With a few final belly rubs and ear scratches, we bid them adieu and began fighting over which coworker would be lucky enough to adopt one later. We have a feeling the APA's phone will be quite busy thanks to #UberKittens.
So, uh, can we go ahead and make our kitten reservation for 2016 yet, Uber?
Note: Visit this link to see photos (until the Gateway Media CMS changes again and eats it) and visit this link to watch the kitten video on Facebook.