At a time when there is huge demand and intense competition in the app-based taxi service providers’ industry, Uber recently launched its first brand campaign titled ‘Move Forward’ for the Indian market after three years of its launch in the country.
Three videos have already gone live on Uber’s digital platforms. Conceptualised by BBH India, the films trace a day in the life of Uber drivers and passengers while highlighting the role that the brand plays in their day-to-day life. Using emotion as the brand tonality, the campaign is clearly made to touch the consumers’ hearts. Print and outdoor is also part of Uber’s media plan.
Why digital platform?
Commenting on the reason behind first launching the film on the digital platform instead of television, Ashwin Dias, GM, Uber India, said, “For us, the primary target audience for this campaign are our passengers and to some extent, our drivers. We believe that in contemporary times, when the digital platform reaches out extensively and effectively to all kinds of audience, our brand campaign would meritoriously connect with our riders as well as our drivers. Both sets of audience are tech savvy and can find their way around by using smartphones. Hence, it (digital) is an ideal medium for our campaign.”
According to Jagdeep Kapoor, MD, Samsika Marketing Consults, the campaign has an emotional connect and that is what makes it likeable. Secondly, it brings out the functionality in terms of what Uber is offering and the best part is that it gives a human face to the drivers. The campaign is also a big reassuring factor as it shows the experience of booking and travelling in an Uber cab safer and cosier especially at a time when a lot is being discussed about the security factor of these cab services. Thus the campaign is a combination of empathy, assurance and reliability with an emotional touch to it. Kapoor said, “While I feel their cabs reach on time and this campaign is also great, but the brand is a tad late in terms of launching its first film.”
At a time, when competition is stiff and when other players like Ola and Meru have already launched their respective campaigns quite some time ago, is Uber really late in the race? Dias seems to have a different opinion as he said, “The first three years for Uber was all about building the brand and the business in India. It’s been a long and hard journey but today look at where we’ve come. We’ve changed the way people move around in cities.”
“So, the first three years was all about getting deep into the fabric of the city and changing mindsets of people to start trying out a new way to commute. It was also about research and expansion. Today, in three years we’re in 28 cities and growing rapidly in each of them. We have over 400,000 driver partners who have become micro entrepreneurs through our platform. We’re close to completing a million trips a day across the country. We’ve grown from a 50 member team last year, to a 500+ team today. The growth we’ve seen is phenomenal and we’re only getting started. With this, we thought it would be an opportune moment to launch our brand campaign, riding on our three-year anniversary,” he added.
In 2014, Meru Cabs launched its first nationwide thematic marketing campaign titled ‘Ab Haath Na Hilao, Bas App Dabao’ to highlight how their cab facilities can be availed via the app. The agency Enormous played on the insight that hailing a taxi by waving out one’s hand is tiresome and irritating. This year, Meru released its new commercial titled ‘True Rupees Per Km’ based on the insight that customers have limited knowledge on how their fare is calculated and sometimes end up paying a higher value than promised in the app, before they sit in the cab.
Last year, Ola Cabs launched its first nationwide campaign titled ‘Chalo Niklo’ to position Ola as the go-to transport choice for immediate and spontaneous city travel needs and also a far better and comfortable experience than traditional autos and taxis on the streets.
This year, the brand also released their new commercial for Ola Micro in an attempt to educate the audience that they offer economical AC car rides at Rs 6/km across 42 cities in India. In fact, one of their TVCs faced public flak for sexist content. After much social media outrage, Ola was forced to withdraw the commercial.
Other than the TV campaigns, both brands are also very active on digital platform.