By Tom Heneghan The Globe and MailToronto, Ont.
— Uber is a massive player in Canada’s $300-billion auto industry, one that is now fighting to keep its market share from eroding in the wake of the company’s controversial ride-sharing scandal.
Its market share is growing in the United States, but the company has also become increasingly difficult to deal with, with some critics saying its drivers are exploited, but its drivers don’t have the protections afforded to workers in Canada.
Now, as Canada’s government gears up for a debate over Uber’s $9-billion takeover of rival competitor Lyft, the company is launching a $6.9-million ad campaign to counter the negative press.
It is also pushing to get rid of the requirement that all ridesharing drivers be registered with the provincial government and to expand the current two-tier system.
“We’re not looking for conflict of interest, but we want to make sure that there’s no barriers to entry,” Uber Canada’s chief marketing officer, Brian D’Ambrosio, told reporters in a phone interview Thursday.
The company is also rolling out a series of new advertising campaigns to try to convince Canadians that it’s worth paying the $30 to $50 for rideshared cars.
The campaign features the company logo on a large billboard near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, as well as an Uber logo.
D’Ambroiosio said the ad campaign will run on the website and social media platforms.
It will feature the slogan “No ride equals no freedom,” which was chosen by the company after a recent poll found that a large majority of Canadians support free trade with the U.S.
The advertising campaign also features a trailer showing a driver in the Uber car, where he talks about the importance of having “a car that is safe for you to ride in.”
Uber Canada’s campaign is aimed at Canadian drivers, D’Armoio said.
“It’s not just a question of asking whether you are a driver, but whether you know how to drive safely,” he said.
“We want to show them that there are no barriers and that the safety is worth it.”
What we’re doing with this campaign is trying to show that Uber is here for you, that you’re not alone and that Uber cares about you.
“The company has been working on this campaign for months and has already launched more than 10,000 ads in Canada and the U., D’Associates said.
The ad campaign follows a campaign by the Canadian Association of Public Drivers, which had a similar theme earlier this year.”
The CUPE bargaining unit, which represents more than 2,200 Uber drivers, is scheduled to vote on the deal this week. “
And we’ve had some good progress.”
The CUPE bargaining unit, which represents more than 2,200 Uber drivers, is scheduled to vote on the deal this week.
The union has been trying to strike a deal with Uber for more than two years.
Batey said that the CUPD has been successful in convincing other automakers to drop the union’s demands, and that many companies that had backed out have been trying.
But the union has also had some success with drivers, he said, pointing to a successful campaign last fall to get drivers to agree to the company offer of a minimum wage increase.
“I think we’re starting to see some progress,” he added.
“A lot of drivers have taken notice of what’s happening, and they’re also seeing the potential of Uber.”
The $9.9 billion takeover of the Ubers competitor Lyft was announced last week and was finalized this week, in the face of fierce opposition from Canadian workers and some government officials.
In a statement Thursday, Uber said it was looking forward to working with the government and its member drivers.
The company is expected to announce the terms of the transaction in the coming weeks.
Uber’s $6-million advertising campaign comes after the company was forced to defend itself against criticism that it had misled consumers about how it would manage its ride-hailing business.
The Canadian government has called for Uber to be required to post a “safety” sign in its drivers’ cars, which the company says is to inform passengers that drivers are on the job.
But Uber said that is not a requirement under the current ride-share system.
Instead, it says it will require the driver to display a “safe” sign, similar to one that would appear on its self-driving vehicles.
Uber says the sign must be posted in the drivers’ garage at the end of the ride and can be up to two metres away from the passenger.
The campaign comes in response to the fact that the company said it would require its drivers to wear a helmet at all times while driving.
In October, a federal government watchdog ordered Uber to remove the “safety sign