Timberland Takes Uber For A Ride

The car hailing app, fresh from its Fashion Week NY promo-partnership with Rag & Bone, tries on a fall casual look in parts of NYC.

Uber’s alliance with Timberland for several hours of free rides around areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn is yet another demonstration that it’s not just an on-demand ride hailing service — it’s (literally) an on-the-go promotional vehicle for major brands that want to connect with consumers in unique ways.

Timberland and Uber, ride sharing — and marketing sharing.
Timberland and Uber, ride sharing — and marketing sharing.

For one thing, its fleet of 22,000 cars operating at any one time in NYC, — with a heavy concentration in the hottest, most affluent neighborhoods — makes it attractive to major brands. As we’ve seen, Coca-Cola represented the way one mass marketer worked with Uber. The soft drink maker recently had Uber drivers offer free Cokes to lucky riders. The same riders could see their “Coke car” coming on via Uber’s app, where available rides were cloaked as red, white, and black bottles on map’s screen.

In this case, a comparatively mid-level brand like Timberland can take advantage of the same marketing heft that upscale fashion retailer Rag & Bone did in its partnership with Uber for Fashion Week NY. Users who opened the Uber app on Monday, September 14 between 5:30 – 7:30pm in select Brooklyn and Manhattan locations were told to enter the promo code for a chance to score seats for themselves and a friend at the show — as well as a free Uber ride there. That said, those rides were hard to come by. Nevertheless, both Uber and Rag & Bone got a significant amount of social media attention at a time when so many clothing and media outlets were vying for consumers’ notice.

For those who want to take advantage of the Timberland deal, here are the details: On Wednesday, Sept. 23rd between the hours of 4pm and 8pm, riders who tap “Timberland” and enter the promocode “MODERNTRAIL” stand a chance of “exploring the streets of NYC with a free, 30-minute journey and getting outfitted with a complimentary pair of Timberland boots and a backpack to blaze your trail—all from the backseat of a custom SUV.”

It’s not clear how many such Timberland-Ubers will be available. And if you’re above 59th St. in Manhattan — or anywhere else in Brooklyn besides Williamsburg and Greenpoint — you won’t see anything. But in terms of burnishing its identity as immediate luxury within (some consumers’) reach, Uber has shown how it has evolved beyond merely being a rival to taxis and livery cabs to being a full-fledged marketing platform in its own right.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.