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This Is Uber’s Plan To Fix Its Image In France

Taxi drivers on strike burn tyres during a national protest against car-sharing service Uber in MarseilleTaxi drivers on strike burn tyres during a national protest against car-sharing service Uber in Marseille
Taxi drivers strike Uber France 2015.Photograph by Jean-Paul Pelissier — Reuters

When Uber (UBER) first tried to launch it’s platform in France, the ride-hailing service was met with violent protests, burned tires, and the accused of being “economic terrorists” by local taxi drivers in June 2015.

Now, the company is launching an advertising campaign in the hopes of endearing itself to the French people.

Starting Wednesday, French citizens in 10 cities will be able to see billboards showing a range of typical French rider sitting in an Uber car, along with a tagline playing on the company’s name.

In one advertisement, a portly man lies asleep in the back seat of the car with the tag line “uberaubois dormant,” a play on Sleeping Beauty, roughly translates to “uber sleeping,” with the subhead translating to: “Don’t worry, the payment is automatic.” Another features a woman after a marathon, with the words “Uberathon,” followed by the subhead, “enjoy a bottle of water in any car.”

Each ad also includes the tagline, “adopted by 1.5 million people in France.”

The ad will appear in both national and print publications.

 

The ad campaign comes after Uber has faced several waves of criticism in France, and has been considered an invader in the country.

 

“The heart of Western Europe has sadly been the most resistant to Uber,” said Thibaud Simphal, general manager of Uber France to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday. “We were maybe wrong to think that it could work here like it did in the U.S. where markets are a little more open to change.”

The campaign, which is expected to launch in several weeks, was created by Paris-based Marcel.

Meanwhile, Uber executives Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, the head of Uber in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and Simphal are facing charges of violating French transport and privacy laws. They are awaiting a verdict.