Case Study: Helping Rideshare App Alto Make Your Drives a Little More Stylish

Joseph Alexander, Founder & CEO of The Uptown Agency.

Written By:

Joseph is the CEO of The Uptown Agency and has expertise across industries and disciplines including branding, marketing, and venture capital. He has worked with hundreds of top brands, challenger brands, and startups, including Keurig Dr Pepper, JP Morgan, and Alto.

Jun 10 2021

Alto collaborated with Gray Malin on its art cars for the entirety of May, but has since extended its partnership.Alto/Gray Malin

Project Overview
The Uptown Agency partnered with the rideshare service Alto to create a unique and engaging experience for passengers through a collaboration with renowned photographer Gray Malin. This project involved transforming Alto vehicles into "art cars" wrapped in designs from Malin’s new book, Gray Malin: The Essential Collection. This case study details the conceptualization, execution, and impact of this innovative collaboration.


Alto's mission is to differentiate itself in the rideshare market by offering a premium, customizable experience. The goal of this collaboration was to enhance brand visibility, create memorable experiences for passengers, and leverage social media engagement through visually striking vehicle designs created by a photographer Alto riders knew and loved.

Concept and Execution

Artistic Collaboration

Alto, known for partnering with local artists, extended its artistic vision by collaborating with Gray Malin. The collaboration aimed to infuse Alto's fleet with iconic imagery, creating a visual treat for passengers and passersby alike.

Vehicle Designs

Three Alto vehicles were transformed into art cars, each featuring a distinct design from Malin’s collection.

- Llamas and Balloons
- Beach Print
- I Am Busy

These designs were chosen to evoke joy, relaxation, and a sense of whimsy, aligning perfectly with Alto’s brand ethos of creating delightful and unexpected experiences.

Strategic Deployment

The art cars were deployed in Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles, the primary markets where Alto operated at that time (The Uptown Agency has also supported the launch of new markets in Miami, D.C., Los Angelos, and Silicon Valley. Alto strategically parked these cars in high-traffic areas to maximize visibility and encourage social media sharing. This approach ensured that the art cars not only served as functional rideshare vehicles but also as mobile billboards and social media hotspots.

Results & Impact

Brand Differentiation:
The art cars provided a unique differentiator for Alto in the competitive rideshare market. The collaboration with Gray Malin elevated the brand’s image, aligning it with luxury, art, and exclusivity.

Increased Engagement:
The visually striking designs garnered significant attention on social media, with users sharing their experiences and creating a buzz around the Alto brand. This organic reach helped Alto connect with a broader audience without extensive advertising spend.

Market Growth:
Alto saw a notable increase in its active ride base, with the collaboration contributing to a fourfold increase in new members each month compared to pre-pandemic levels. This growth was bolstered by the positive press and social media engagement stemming from the art car campaign.

Extended Collaboration:
Originally planned for a one-month run, the success of the art cars led to an extension of the collaboration. This continued presence of the art cars in strategic locations ensured sustained visibility and engagement.