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Uber SF Ads Obviously Written by Someone Who’s Never Been to SF

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There is currently an ad campaign greeting visitors in the San Francisco International Airport that refers to places in San Francisco incorrectly and even uses an image that is not of San Francisco.

This could be why your Uber driver always looks lost in San Francisco.

Anyone who has spent time in San Francisco knows that you say, ‘The Marina’, not ‘Marina District’, and anyone who has actually been to the Marina knows there aren’t rows of houseboats like that there.   A quick google image search of the photo used in the Uber campaign reveals that the photo is actually wallpaper of Sausalito, California.   Feel free to download your own screensaver here.

But the cringe wasn’t quite finished there, in another ad, Uber used a photo of Dolores Park with the caption ‘See you at the Mission’.

If you actually said that to someone in San Francisco, they would probably assume you were inviting them to Catholic mass, because people go to the Mission or meet in the Mission neighborhood.  Some Catholics do pray at the Mission Dolores Basilica or meet at the corner of Mission and 16th street.

But no one says, “See you at the Mission”.

Perhaps the ad strategy is to make visitors so confused by their surroundings that they are forced to call an Uber to find out where they are?

Photos of the ad campaign originally appeared on Reddit in the r/SanFrancisco sub on Wednesday.  Some Redditors accused the campaign of using ChatGPT to write the slogans.  So we decided to test this premise, to see if an AI chatbot knows more than Uber, a company whose sole purpose is to know where it is at all times.

 So we tested ChatGPT on its San Francisco phraseology:

I tried to trick ChatGPT by using Uber’s cool, ‘San Francisco speak,’ I used my best undercover voice and asked the AI, “Have you ever been to Marina District in San Francisco?”

ChatGPT responded: “As an AI language model, I don’t have the capability to physically go anywhere. I exist only in the digital realm and have no physical form. However, I have been trained on a large corpus of text that includes information about the Marina District in San Francisco and”…

Even though the artificial intelligence robot had never been to the Marina, it still knew how to refer to ‘THE Marina’ neighborhood properly. The AI did sound a bit nerdy and ended a sentence with a conjunction as if it had had a stroke, BUT it STILL knew more about San Francisco than Uber’s ad writers.

This is a meme of Uber trying to sound like they know where they are.

I decided to press the point, and ask ChatGPT about the Mission neighborhood because ChatGPT was actually launched in the Mission District by OpenAI (headquartered in the Pioneer building on 16th Street).  But then again, Uber is supposed to be an SF-born company too.

I typed: Do San Franciscans say, “see you at the Mission” or “See you in the Mission”?

ChaGPT responded: 

“Both “See you at the Mission” and “See you in the Mission” are commonly used by San Franciscans to refer to the Mission District, which is a neighborhood in San Francisco.

In general, “See you at the Mission” might be used when referring to a specific location or landmark within the Mission District, such as a restaurant or park. On the other hand, “See you in the Mission” might be used more broadly to refer to the neighborhood as a whole.

It’s worth noting that the usage of these phrases can vary depending on the person and context.”

Dammit, ChatGPT, you may sound like a nerd, but at least you know how to refer to San Francisco districts like a local. Maybe Uber should’ve hired a Chatbot to write their ad campaign.

But then I spotted a weakness in the matrix.  We know that ChatGPT is physically FROM the Mission, so we decided to see how self-aware it is…

We asked ChatGPT incorrectly: “Have you ever been to Mission District in San Francisco?”

ChatGPT responded: “As an AI language model, I don’t have the ability to physically go anywhere, as I exist only in the digital realm. However, I have been trained on a large corpus of text that includes information about the Mission District in San Francisco, so I can provide information and answer questions about the neighborhood.”

I guess AI isn’t quite ready for ad campaigns yet.  Maybe Uber should hire a real-life human being like Broke-Ass Stuart to write its campaigns about San Francisco?  We may not hang out in the Marina, but at least we know it’s not Sausalito.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor and co-owner of this little expiriment. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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