Squeals of delight could be heard from offices around Sydney today as news landed that Uber would be delivering doses of puppy love in 15-minute hits direct to workers’ desks.
The ride-sharing app promised to drop off puppies – on loan from the Animal Welfare League NSW – at offices around the CBD between noon and 4pm.
“For us, this is an amazing opportunity to socialise these puppies in a great, positive environment,” says Animal Welfare League NSW spokesperson Rosalie Horton.
Ms Horton also quashed any suggestion it compromised the animals' welfare, insisting that it was crucial for the puppies' development.
“It’s a hot day, getting them out into air-conditioned offices is a good thing … [and in this] critical period of socialisation, it's really important that they are around people every day.”
For a $40 “snuggle fee”, Uber, in partnership with Purina, promised to improve workplace atmosphere and, boldly, productivity, in the name of raising awareness about the benefits of having a pet-friendly office, as well as encouraging participants to consider adopting the homeless pooches.
The funds raised will be used to support the Animal Welfare League shelters.
While the puppies being shuttled around the CBD were up for adoption, participants would not be able to take them home that day, instead having to apply and go through a “rigorous” screening process.
“We’re making sure people don’t make an impulse purchase, we’re making sure people don’t jump into these decisions,” Ms Horton says.
In 2015, the RSPCA received more than 14,000 dogs in NSW, a jump of 44 per cent from the year before, of which hundreds still remain in care.
The marketing stunt also seemed to provide the perfect furry distraction for the ride-sharing app’s recent appearance at the Senate Inquiry into corporate tax avoidance. Uber paid just over $400,000 tax in Australia over the past three years, despite having a global market value of $86.9 billion.
This is not the first time Uber has used adorrable animals to dress up their media image. Only last year, when the company was caught up over the legality of its service, and after having to apologise for surge pricing during the Sydney siege, Uber performed a similar stunt delivering kittens.
Meanwhile, Twitter practically exploded with joy at the news of push-of-the-button-puppies.