Nick Mills

Volkswagen – Uber up! Test Ride


The Volkswagen up! is a car that’s made for the city and the people who live in it.They don’t go to dealerships anymore. They look online, buy what their friends have, inherit what their parents have, or use bicycles, taxis and Uber. 

To launch the Volkswagen up! to them, we decided to reach them where they were. On their phones. 

Partnering with Uber, we created the Uber Test Ride, allowing people to get a free ride in the up! to where ever they needed to go. Rather than expecting them to go to the dealership, we brought the car to them.


Using a broad mix of media, from online banners, to radio, social, email and a campaign microsite, we directed people to a page where they could download the Uber app.

Once the app had downloaded, they simply entered “UBERUP” as their promo code and began requesting free test rides.

The activation ran from March 2nd - March 9th, with 20 up!s split across three major cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Cars were available between 3 and 11pm to maximize the likelihood of bigger groups of friends requesting an Uber up! 

There were so many test ride requests (more than 12,000 requests in 6 days) that we repeated the activation a few weeks later (April 15 – 19th) to meet demand (demand outstripped supply by 8 to 1 across the campaign). 

Our fleet of Volkswagen up!s were specially branded to increase their visibility, and our drivers were trained to speak about the car’s range of USPs and answer any questions our test-riders might have.


Targeted banners and mobi-banners raised awareness of the campaign online. 

For cost effective reach, we sent an email to the Volkswagen database, which enjoyed a significantly higher than average open rate.


A campaign microsite called out all the places you could go in a Volkswagen up! and linked people to a page where they could download the Uber app.


We launched the activation with a selection of celebrity drivers whose distinctive personalities would appeal to our younger target market and complement the personality of the up!


People loved the car and the convenience of test-riding it, and took to Twitter to express their appreciation. Our Twitter following grew by 10% during our campaign period and we received over 140 000 Twitter impressions.