This morning, Uber, the taxi hailing app and $50 billion-valued company, blasted out an email suggesting that you should probably get your ice cream delivered, as opposed to exposing yourself to the elements like the rest of the sunburnt, cab-hailing plebeians. Notably, the event was sponsored by banking company Capital One, which announced a partnership with Uber back in late April.
The company's also had partnerships in the past with Spotify, PayPal, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Uber has also delivered puppies on demand. As long as you're using it, there's no end to the causes it'll throw its name to.
If the kittens and ice cream weren't enough of a signal, here's the heads up: Uber is morphing rapidly into a platform—not just as a platform for activism, but an advertising platform for brands.
And these decisions have come at a very opportune time for the company, as it metamorphoses into something a lot more complicated than an on-demand shuttle. Uber could be the fulcrum for political causes. Uber could be the thing that saves a crummy taxi system or topples it for the good of the consumer (or just itself? Who can really tell what will happen once it's the only one left standing?). Or Uber could just be kittens and ice cream and the simple drunk ride home if you want it to be.
Regardless of how you personally use it, the transformation of the company from something relatively simple—a tech-savvy taxi competitor—to a consumer-pandering brand hydra seems well underway.