Uber-hating car service Gett is one of the first brands to run a sponsored filter on artsy filter app Prisma.

Gett launched its sponsored filter #GettUrban on the app last week, seeing over 550,000 users of the app’s more than 1.1 million daily active users try it out on its first day itself. Prisma is a free app launched last month, where users can use filters to make their selfies look like they were painted by Van Gogh. The Russian app has already been downloaded more than 5.5 million times and is the top-ranking iOS app in several countries.

“We saw how fast the app was blowing up, especially in Russia where we have a strong presence,” said Nahshon Davidai, Gett’s CMO. “We thought it was a hip and cool app to quickly jump on and stand out in a crowded space.”

Prisma’s #GettUrban filter is a play on the fact that it is an urban mobility company, said Davidai. It has a distinctly urban feel and is dominated by shades of gray, purple and yellow. It transforms users’ photos into Prisma-filtered images that resemble drawings. Apart from Gett, Palmolive Naturals is the only other brand that has run a sponsored filter on the app.

What Digiday's office looks like with the #GettUrban filter on Prisma
What Digiday’s office looks like with the #GettUrban filter on Prisma

By launching this custom sponsored filter on Prisma, Gett is hoping to further its brand awareness in the U.S., where it currently only operates in New York City. It faces stiff competition from rivals Uber and Lyft, which dominate the space. Uber made nearly $2 billion in revenue last year and is valued at a staggering $62.5 billion, whereas Lyft made nearly $800 million last year and boasts a $5.5 billion valuation. Gett’s revenue, in contrast, is around $500 million globally.

Gett has tried to lure consumers away from its competitors through its fixed rates, stable pricing and by emphasizing its no-surge policy. That has translated into its marketing efforts as well, where it has frequently adopted aggressive anti-Uber rhetoric. Its “Surge Sucks” campaign, for instance, let consumers trade their surge amounts on Uber and Lyft in exchange for credit on Gett instead. It has also run several billboard and digital out-of-home campaigns in New York City, with ads carrying phrases like “My mama don’t like surge, and she likes everything.”

While that has helped, the brand wanted to go beyond this approach, said Davidai. “It’s hard to stand out just by conveying the pragmatic and functional values of the brand,” he said. “That is why we wanted to take a more fun approach, and align with a disruptive brand like Prisma, which is very top-of-mind right now.”

It’s a smart move, said Aaron Westbrook, social engagement strategist at agency iCrossing, given the popularity of filters even on other platforms like Snapchat. “Being first one of something that is trending can be very effective, especially for an underdog like them,” he said. “It is the perfect opportunity.”

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