When was the last time you thought public transport was sexy? Like, 10 years ago, when the TV game show Cash Cab was launched? (Okay, that doesn’t even really qualify as PT.)
For sure, the industry - with its disgruntled taxi and bus uncles and connection to hot-button issues like rising fares and breakdowns - is a tough one to jazz up.
But for one taxi-booking app, tough doesn’t = impossible.
A few months ago, GrabTaxi started a series of services that cleave through the usual book-pick up-drop off routine. Think stuff like offering a durian delivery service to those craving the fruit – and better yet, those durians were delicious (so we heard).
We did a little digging and found out that the company had started the hyperlocal GrabDurian concept as a treat for its drivers, which then became an open campaign due to popular response.
Other atypical offerings to come out of its offices include a campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer, one that offered free supercar rides during F1 season and a mooncake delivery service.
It’s all part of the social mission of this fast-growing startup, which has received over a billion dollars in funding and has offices in Singapore, Malaysia (where it started in 2012), the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
That mission: To improve its surrounding communities and the lives of its drivers - all via revolutionising the way public transport works for you.
A cool tech company with a noble, socially conscious purpose, a sense of fun and oodles of cash backing it? We’re betting it’s gonna be HUGE. But before you shoot off your resume, here’s more from GrabTaxi’s group vice-president of marketing Cheryl Goh.
The birth of GrabTaxi’s first creative campaign
“We’ve always been driven by how we can delight Grabbers. As Chinese New Year approached this year, we…thought about fostering the Singaporean food culture of enjoying food together with family and friends, and decided to offer Grabbers special #Huat fortune packages of that CNY staple, bak kwa – delivered by no less than the God of Fortune himself.
“Everyone in the company was on board with the idea. From the marketing to the tech and operations teams, we all worked to ‘huat’ together and make it happen!”
“Our latest initiative, probably – the #GrabItBeatIt campaign that promoted Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, as part of our focus on women’s health and safety. We provide safe rides for everyone, every day, and now we want to extend the conversation to how women can stay healthy and fit.
“All our Southeast Asian offices are raising funds for local NGOs with the sale of t-shirts that scream, ‘Love boobs? So does cancer’. We want the attention, because it can save lives. Breast cancer has high cure rates when detected early, so it’s important to do self-examination of our breasts. Girls, take your health into your own hands – literally!”
Most likely to put a smile on people’s faces
“Our Grab Don’t campaign focuses on fixing the pain points of consumers. We’re looking to bring a smile to commuters in Singapore and reduce the stress of commuting, so we give away promo codes when we see people struggling to flag down taxis on the road, along with small treats and tissues. We even offer free massages for those queuing up at taxi stands.”
Source of inspiration
“One inspiration that’s close to my heart was when we realised that our most hardworking drivers were spending a bulk of time on the roasd providing a service to Grabbers, and didn’t have enough time to spend with their families.
“We knew we had to do something for them and developed the Driver Swap campaign during Ramadan this year in Malaysia to remind everyone of how important family time is. Three drivers who spent the most time on the roads were informed to set aside time to pick up VIPs for the day. When they arrived, we turned it around and made them the VIPs, with the MyTeksi (as the company is known in Malaysia) management driving them around instead for a day of leisure and entertainment.
“Our campaigns centre around two things: Positive change and delighting people, both our drivers and consumers. We want our campaigns to have heart, because we truly care and want to make people’s lives better.”
The brains behind the ideas
“Our teams live in the cities where we operate. We grew up here and understand the nuances of local communities. This helps shape the way we develop truly local ideas that really work.”