Flag on the ploy

November 22, 2013
(Ben Claassen III/For Express)
(Ben Claassen III/For Express)

I imagine Redskins cheerleaders don’t have trouble snagging a cab. As soon as one even approaches a curb, she’s probably thronged by random dudes offering up their car keys. So, although Hailo has just been named the official taxi app of the “First Ladies of Football,” I wouldn’t count on seeing many pompoms left behind in backseats.

Except for this weekend. To celebrate the new partnership, Hailo has announced that cheerleaders will be in its taxis for two hours on Saturday and Sunday. Customers who summon a ride with the app could wind up with some company — along with the chance to answer Redskins trivia questions and win Hailo credits.

In theory, this sounds like a zany, “Cash Cab”-style promotion. But in reality, it could easily turn into a gigantic fumble.

What happens when a bickering couple ends up shoved next to a swimsuit calendar model? Even a posse of bros might not be pleased to see that there aren’t enough seats because of the cheering section. And if a passenger turns out to be a 49ers supporter in town for Monday night’s game, that’ll just be awkward.

I guess these are the kinds of plays we’ll be seeing more of as the taxi app wars continue to rage. The companies need to do something to stand out — especially now that all D.C. cabs take credit cards. (Or, at least, they’re supposed to. That’s another column.)

Taxi Magic just linked up with Newcastle for the launch of Cabbie Black Ale. The promo code “Cabbie,” slapped on every six-pack, is good for a one-time $5 credit for rides. And Uber is always up to something, like “I Can Has Uber Kittens” (which was available a few weeks ago in several cities, but not D.C.). For $20, app users could summon actual kittens for a 15-minute snuggle.

Maybe Hailo feels like it has to up the ante to compete, but better service and lower prices are what score points with customers. So if I were coaching Hailo, I’d emphasize another aspect of the cheerleader partnership: People who download the app can type in the code “WRC” for $10 off their first Hailo ride.

Even a 49ers fan could appreciate that.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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Marissa Payne | November 21, 2013