After the Australian state of Queensland passed legislation to stamp out Uber last month with punishing fines to drivers using the app, the $50 billion valued company did what any imperious, overvalued child would do when met with resistance: It staged a series of self-righteous hissy-fit PR stunts. In a tactic reported on by CNet and others, Uber printed out 15,000 emails objecting to the fines, stuffed them in burlap sacks, and carried them, on horse-and-buggy, to the office of Queensland's government, making a serious and adult point about technology and, like, the future, bro.
The Brisbane Times reports that the horse-and-buggy runaround gambit followed news that roughly 15,000 constituent emails had been blocked, essentially as spam, by the local officials to whom they were addressed. But as Mashable explains, the emails were also a sort of "squeaky wheel" tactic, if a more common one. Each was a form email, blasted out from Queensland constituents at the company's behest, only to be blocked due to their volume and seemingly identical content.
As one official put it, "Whether these emails were, in fact, being generated by individuals or individuals utilising some sort of feeder system, or simply being auto generated and were a type of email bomb or blast, one result of these emails was to compromise the Parliamentary Service's email system and members' ability to communicate."
Uber obstinately claims to see matters differently. "Unfortunately, thousands of these emails were deliberately blocked by the parliament and were not received," the company's General Manager in Queensland, Sam Bool, told Mashable. "To ensure the voices of those that want ridesharing in Queensland will still be heard, today we hand delivered these emails to the premier's office." As Bool snidely reiterated to the daily Mail, "We'll be interested to see whether the people who wrote to their premier will receive a response in the mail or through updated, modern regulations that [recognize] their right to choose how they get around."
The above promotional video generated from the event shows a company awfully proud of its literal gamesmanship. Previously, Uber created a version of its app, highlighted by the Brisbane Times and Mashable, named after a local politician. In a sarcastic dig at the fines in question, it displayed no cars available. Good one, kids.