Serge warns commuters about surge pricing in latest campaign for 13CABS via Thinkerbell

Serge.jpg13CABS with its agency Thinkerbell have launched a new campaign reminding people that while ride-sharing companies continue to use surge pricing in times of high demand, 13CABS do not.

The idea called 'Good Serge' utilises a 13CABS Driver called Serge who picks the right moment (primarily during peak times) to 'warn' commuters about the perils of surge pricing from ride-share companies.

Says Liz Attia, head of marketing at 13CABS: "We love our Driver Serge, he's helping us tell an important story to our Passengers - don't put up with surge pricing."

Says Adam Ferrier of Thinkerbell: "The communications strategy primarily uses a digital approach with support in outdoor and radio. There's oodles of contextually relevant content, all created to deliver the right message to the right location, at the right time."

Says Jim Ingram of Thinkerbell: "Surge pricing is a hot issue at the moment. When the trains in Melbourne went down a few weeks back, a certain ride-sharing company surged their prices by 3.6x! We want everyone to know that with 13CABS, there's no surge pricing, just Serge driving. On that note, 13CABS actually has a lot of Drivers named Serge - so the campaign not only communicates a timely message, but also gets the message out in a fun way. Special mention to Cousin Serge for his acting debut."

The Serge campaign kicks off today with digital advertising and is the first cab off the rank for 13CABS's new communications approach.

Chief Operating Officer - Stuart Overell
Head of Marketing - Liz Attia
Marketing Services - Kim Henkul

Agency: Thinkerbell
Alex Grivas - Strategy and Account Direction
Adam Ferrier - Strategy
Martin Kemba - Data Science
Jim Ingram & Ben Couzens - Creative Direction
Shirley Bahar and Andre Augusto Pinheiro - Creatives
Jackie Fish - Production
Chris Reynolds - Post Production
Jay Hynes - Photography
Natalie Perkov - PR and Social

Collaborate Media
Steve Fagan - Media Director
Katie O'Mara - Account Director


Yeah, nah. said:

Should've thinkerbelled an idea

i like said:

I like it.

It's probably the number one thing they could actually go after Uber with.

Still, unless it's crazy, then I still find Uber comes out cheaper,

Least they are going out with something

cummins said:

more time on the work and less time talking about yourselves boys. this is rubbish

What in the absolute hell... said:

For a company that desperately needs to shake its backward, out of date image... WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU MAKE SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

Feel like I'm taking crazy pills over here. This is shocking.

qt3.14 said:

I like it.

John said:

This is disappointingly dull and i think that they'll be a fair number of people who will be thinking why P.R this rubbish.

Lady said:

Yeah... I don't know if I'd hop in a cab with this dude.

Been waiting to say it.... said:


Ben said:

You know it's a tough brief when you have to get the old stereotype and and the best you can do is highlight that occasionally you have to pay more for an offering which is substantially cheaper the rest of the time, and still cheap if it's less than double surge.

I couldn't do better said:

But I've gotta ask, was the yellow border necessary? Seems so tacky.

First night nerves? said:

When you launch a new agency you want your first work to knock people's socks off.

This doesn't do that. In fact, it's really shit.

Shame, better luck with Act 2.

Well said:

I thought they were good and had a clear message.

Nice one.

Henry Innis said:

I actually think this is a really nice idea.

Attacks Uber's main pain point. Makes it funny to deal with. Encourages the 13CABS as an alternative app to have on your phone just in case.

Overall, cool!

Grendel said:

I wonder if PWC experienced surge pricing?

Yep said:

Uber has started to show a few cracks. Attacking surge pricing is smart. This is a leap in the right direction for a brand that really needs help.

Old School Stereotype said:

Is Serge Is Good

Dunno bout Serge said:

People prefer Uber because you don't have a typical cab driver in the front seat. This just reminds you of that very reason while saying "sometimes it's a bit more expensive"

Stinkersmell said:


Out of touch white dude said:

This is what you're up against:

Good luck boys...

A surge by any other name said:

Don't taxis charge more (higher flag fall and km rate) at night time? Especially weekends when more people are looking for a cab. I.e. When there's a surge in demand.

All talk and no trousers said:

There was no good work that came out of Cummins, but that was always someone else's fault.

So now the shackles have been unleashed what's the excuse?

Low hanging fruit said:

the thinking behind this is smart. Uber has started to show cracks. Attacking surge pricing is the right thing to do. Tonally this is a bit daggy but this feels right for 13CABS.

All hope lost said:

Seeing all the crap ads coming out of top agencies and creatives, looks like Campaign Briefs gonna have a hard time giving out an Agency of the year award this year.

Pun loving art director. said:

How about that Credit Card Serge though?

Making us all look bad said:


bakes said:

Shoe string budget and production values are there to show it.

But this is honestly a smart, effective and efficient approach, and will work.

Everyone who's calling this out as shit don't realise how far ahead this is, and don't understand that this probably had a budget of 5k.

The day advertising died said:

Literally jumping the shark.

Not only is this bad in nearly every way. It doesn't actually understand the real problem, which is strange given the background of the people involved and their supposed understanding of strategy, psychology and behaviour.

The product is terrible, taxis, the cars, the drivers are an extremely bad experience.

A terrible brand, crap app and bad advertising isn't going to help.

Sheesh said:

Boy, there's some bitter and twisted people here. This is a good move for 13CABS. Nice to see them doing some work that has a strong point of view.

Tough Crowd said:

It is tough to do anything to beat uber but I think this is good.

Account Circus said:

Let's face it - if you're using Uber already, you're gonna keep using it because you know what it is and what it does.

If you don't use it, or are on the fence, then Serge here might be enough to sway you towards sticking with 13 CABS.

Not every fucking ad has to specifically be for narcissistic dickhead millennials - i'd bet more than a few mums and dads will be swayed by this.

That said, nothing would stop me sticking with Uber as long as I have to wait about 10x as long for a 13CAB to rock up.

Mhmm said:

Strategy is solid. Creative is early 2000s.

creative without borders said:

Diggin' the yellow borders, but...still going to catch an Uber.

You up? said:

Sounds like a desperate text from an ex.

Constructive Critique... said:

This is possibly one of the worst campaigns to have been PR'd on this blog in a long, long time... from Strategy through to concept and execution.

Writing is dull, and in most of the 'films' does nothing other than possibly reading out the brief. The art direction, if anything has taken the brand backwards (What an ugly font and yellow border. A half decent camera and a slight colour grade in Premier would do the job). And why are the videos a mobile square format, but hosted in youtube? Isn't that a facebook / instagram format?

I assume the client has a lot to take responsibility for here, but there are decisions that have been made which client and/or budget can't be blamed for.

On a personal note, this idea makes me dislike cabs even more.

No Cred said:

The press release mentioned all the right buzzwords: "THINKERBELL represents the coming together of scientific enquiry and brilliant creativity – or as we like to call it, ‘Measured Magic"

What data delivered this insight guys? How did you scientifically arrive at this brilliant creative?

Instead of rushing to make 'ads' - you ignored the real opportunity to help your clients, because their problem isn't communication, they don't need ads like this to survive - it's their product and service that needs help and everyone knows it. That's where they need creativity, true creativity and innovation. That's where the real creative opportunity is. Where's your scientific enquiry into your client's industry that has occupancy rates below 30% - because if you looked beyond 'advertising' as the first and only solution you might actually have lived up to your bullshit press release talk and delivered some magic.

Clever and quirky said:

clever ad campaign - I like it. It's got everyone on here talking so I say success - well done!

@Clever and quirky said: said:

>It's got everyone on here talking

Lol, for all the wrong reasons.

@Constructive Critique... said:

>And why are the videos a mobile square format, but hosted in youtube?

It's attempting to be ironically old-school but given the subject matter it just comes off as old-school.

These are the guys that did the Chiko roll campaign, they must have fallen in love with the execution and not thought about the ramifications too hard...

Boss said:

It's very good. It's solid. It attacks Uber directly and reminds people of a benefit. Also starts to carve out a human tone that is not at all Uber.

Jen said:

It's good. Serge not Surge. Clear. I hate Surge pricing.

When the rubber hits the road said:

Things will get uncomfortable in the gleaming ivory PwC tower as it starts to become increasingly associated with average (like this). It doesn't really fit with the sh*t-doesn't-stink image management consultants like to portray.

Yes, but said:

surge pricing on Uber usually happens when demand is so high you can't get cabs either. Which is kind of a problem with this strategy.

NZ said:

Good talent would have made all the difference here.

Two Cents said:

A great campaign that takes the 'bull by the horns'. Well done!

Captial said:

Here's an idea. If you hate this campaign so much how about you work your arse off for 15 years, then quit your job and have the balls to create your own agency? Then be good enough to win a pitch on your own. Chances of that happening are zero because then you wouldn't have enough time to sit here and shitcan other people's work. The hatred and jealously here is hilarious.

Down Down..prices are down said:

Wowza...I thought our ads were car crashes.

@Capital said:

The work is put up here to be viewed, discussed and critiqued.

And some people think it's ave. Nothing more.

Measured magic said:

I can imagine the Thinkerbell guys holding up the device Egon used in Ghost Busters to measure paranormal activity.

"The readings I'm getting here are off the charts - there's some serious magic in these ideas guys".

lol what a bunch of baloney to rationalise data analyst insights. Hilarious.

That's it? said:

That's what 'data', 'magic', 'consumer psych' and a whole lotta hoopla gets you? Man. I think they call that over promising and under delivering. The strategy is suss and the work is first thought type stuff. And, as others have pointed out, the taxi industry needs more than average ads if it's to survive the existential threat posed by Uber et al. Some kind of droid that knew where it was going, wasn't heavy on the brakes, and didn't stink would be cool.

Publicity said:

If they wanted​ 13CABS to look outdated and petty at the same time they're on the right track.

Dr Ad said:

This will clean up at the award shows.

Well done guys!!!

Cab Wank said:

Strategy is sound to go after the dreaded Uber surge.

The creative stinks more than a 13CAB though.

Maybe Nick Giannopolous wasn't available faarken.

Cab Wank said:

Strategy is sound to go after the dreaded Uber surge.

The creative stinks more than a 13CAB though.

Maybe Nick Giannopolous wasn't available faarken.

Hi said:

I like these. And it's obviously the right thing to do - take on surge pricing.

Where's the anger coming from? Let me guess!!

@Capital 2 said:

I've done all that and I still think this work is bad in strategy, idea and execution.

So there you go...

LOL said:

Just because people are talking about it on here doesn't mean people in the "real world" will.

@Dr Ad said:



the meer cat did it better

Surge before Serge said:

I'd happily pay the extra to avoid sitting in a shitty cab listening to whatever opinion Serge is regurgitating from 2UE (probably Uber being allowed to do airport pickups). This is the kind of idea you expect to see in an award school graduate's book, a kind of clever pun based on an idea that ignores reality. Boooo

wow said:

How come everyone is gunning so hard for Thinkerbell?

@wow said:

Yeah, can't imagine. Adam is such a nice guy, so humble and low on ego.

wow said:

Do you know him personally then?

Manny Paquaio said:

Too bad a typical Indian cab driver isn't named Serge. That would have made it the perfect idea.

The problem said:


The problem is that Uber has better service.

I would pay a bit more occasionally (cos let's face it - it's often cheaper) to have:
- clean cars
- friendly drivers
- treats and water
- drivers not whispering into the phone while driving
- no bo
- not grumbling about a short fare
- walk out instant pay, emailed receipt

Help them fix these cultural problems, make them relevant again, desired again.

Not this.

The most this does it remind you that if uber is surging, you can consider taxis.

But people will still reach for uber first.

Go easy said:

When your product is good and no one knows, you need an ad agency.
When your product is shafted, you probably need a CX agency ... or PwC

I LIKEY said:

Cute, clever and memorable. Fuck the troglodyte haterz. There is so much lame stuff being mentioned in the comments advertising can't solve.

Mike Hunt said:

Woeful idea.
Tacky Production.
Embarrassing Casting.
Awful performances.
Excruciating scripts.
Wayward Planning.
Outstanding, masterful, intelligent, fanciful Flat Cap!
(If you're going be criticise other people's work, at least have something positive to say.
Pinching himself that it's 2017!
Mike Hunt.x

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