3-Year-Old Cab Driver Surprised Passengers to Mark a Ride-Hailing App’s Birthday

Hailo hid the real driver in the seat

Dubliners did a double-take recently when they called a cab via the Hailo app, only to have a 3-year-old pull up at the wheel.

Local agency Guns or Knives organized the hidden-camera stunt to mark Hailo's third year of operation in Ireland. (The app lets people schedule taxi or licensed car rides in major cities throughout Europe and Asia.)

The lads—twin brothers Kai and Kal, who had previous acting experience—do appear to be driving. In fact, they are sitting in the lap of the vehicle's actual operator, their dad, who was pretty convincingly disguised as the driver's seat. The "headrest" material over his face was made of a thin mesh that allowed him to see where he was going and whisper lines and cues to the boys as needed.

"There were quite a few things to consider when producing a video like this," agency managing director Zara Flynn tells AdFreak. "The most important thing for us was the safety of the kids. Another challenge we faced was how to hide the stunt driver in the best way possible, so that passengers wouldn't be too suspicious when they approached the taxi."

Fares were, unsurprisingly, pretty surprised when the seemingly tyke-driven cab rolled up, and the inevitable social video contains some amusing moments. (Gotta love it when one of the kids kicks back with the sports page during a break and, later, leans against the cab's door, arms crossed alongside his burly "workmates.")

"We just kept laughing to ourselves, saying 'I can't believe we're actually shooting this,'" Flynn says. "Just having the kids on set was great fun. They were both so excited about being allowed to sit up front in the car with Dad and pretending to drive the car, so we had no problem coaxing them." (As part of the campaign, customers will be rewarded with Hailo mileage credits and the chance to wins trips based on his the distance they've traveled using the service.)

This marks the agency's second notable ride for Hailo, following "The Heterophobic Taxi Driver" in May, a campaign designed to marshal support for the ultimately successful Irish referendum on same-sex marriage. In that push, Hailo promoted its free taxi rides to polling stations with a clip that featured Declan, the "heterophobic driver," telling passengers in chatty, offhand fashion that he never allows obviously straight couples in his cab "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Why would you be marrying someone from another planet?" (Declan makes a cameo in the "The 3-Year-Old Taxi Driver.")

Flynn credits the client for its willingness to try "brave new ideas. Their openness drives us to constantly push the boat out creatively."