Uber, the polarizing rideshare service that lets users request a ride with the tap of a smartphone, has made its fair share of enemies, but up until this point they've been mainly relegated to those working in the taxicab industry. But now, the company upending transportation as we know it is risking making another set of foes: ice cream truck drivers.
For the third year, Uber is using its platform to deliver ice cream to users looking for an afternoon treat. "No matter where you are in the world, nothing captures the sweetness of a sunny afternoon better than ice cream. Friday, July 18th, we’re serving up cold treats on demand in 144 cities, in 38 countries, on 6 continents," a blog post on Uber's website reads.
The length of the promotion, as well price and variety of the treats available, varies by location. In Boston, deliveries of "a ton of wicked awesome ice cream," started at 11 a.m. and will run until 5 p.m., according to Uber's blog. Five ice cream treats will be delivered for $25. Residents of Abu Dhabi can pay 100 AED for "an assortment of natural gelato on a stick."
"To request, choose the Ice Cream option in the app. If a vehicle is available, you’ll be enjoying your desserts in minutes," the post says. "No cash needed. Your order will be billed to your Uber account."
The company is encouraging users to share their ice cream breaks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag "#UberIceCream."
Such cutesy promotions have been a calling card of Uber since its launch four years ago in San Francisco. In addition to ice cream, the company has delivered carloads of puppies to stressed out students on college campuses during finals weeks, and a "National Cat Day" promtion transporting kittens to office spaces last year ran out of available kittens. It took the concept beyond the realm of publicity stunts in April, launching a pilot program for a package delivery service in New York.
All of this seems to be working: Uber completed an eye-popping $1.2 billion round of round of venture capitol fundraising from huge investors like BlackRock and Google Ventures in June, and the company claims that it's doubling its revenue every six months. Not everyone, however, is charmed. Taxicab companies have lobbied ferociously against Uber and other rideshare services like Lyft, staging strikes around the world and encouraging state and city governments to impose stricter regulations on such services.
So far, such proposals haven't included anything about ice cream delivery. For more information on Uber ice cream deliveries in your city, download the app or visit Uber's website, here.