Meet The (Other) Company That Whiffed On Leveraging Steph Curry for its Marketing

Earlier this year, I had written about how Nike’s seemingly unprepared presentation to retain Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry as a client had cost them to keep the biggest name in sports … as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Apparently, another company has mis-dribbled an opportunity to capitalize on basically free publicity from the Babyface Assassin himself.

Prior to the start of the NBA Finals, Curry took part in a media session and answered plenty of non-basketball questions (think Media Day during Super Bowl week … but not as ridiculous). During the presser, Curry was talking about how he was chatting with an Uber driver … much to the surprise of reporters, who followed up and asked if he was actually in an Uber.

“Of course,” he said.

This surprised plenty of media folks, who went on to write stories about why we should love the reigning unanimous MVP even more … turns out he’s just like you and me – he takes Uber when he needs to.

Stories from local, national sports and tech outlets filled my timeline. It also became a trending topic on social media. You would think that Uber, in the midst of dealing with some bad publicity as of late (from riders’ experiences with drivers, to untimely surge prices … to being sued by the drivers themselves) could leverage the free plug from Curry and milk the publicity for all it’s worth.

Not so much.

Curry mentioned Uber on June 1. Dozens of articles were posted hours later. Since then, however, the news pretty much died down and the NBA Finals had begun. Not a single shoutout to Curry from Uber on social media (I did find a tweet from Uber from nine days ago that read “Ready to ride, @StephenCurry30?”, but it looks as though that tweet’s been deleted.)

What I did find, though, were other social media posts about Uber’s utter #PRfail to capitalize on the opportunity to profit from Curry’s plug.

“If @Uber doesn't bank on this 'Steph Curry takes Uber' story, it'll be a fail for their marketing team,” posted one Bay Area sportswriter on Twitter.

One would have thought that after Lyft’s collaboration with Andre Iguodala to prank teammate Festus Ezeli, Uber would have pounced on the opportunity to stay connected with the team’s best player. But, once I realized Uber wasn’t going to do anything about this opportunity, I began asking my colleagues if they saw anything from Uber that I might have missed.

“No,” said one of them. “But when I heard that Steph said he uses Uber, there were so many ideas we could have done if we were their PR agency.”

So I wasn’t the only one who was thinking that. And, apparently, Uber was the only one to NOT chime in on the ‘Steph Curry uses Uber’ conversation. Aside from their tweet – which was eventually deleted.

That’s really too bad, Uber. Who knows how much more positive publicity (and dollars) you could have made during that small window. If the Warriors wind up winning another NBA title, you might want to speak with the City of Oakland on how you can get Uber drivers to be part of the victory parade.

CultureChris Navalta