We want this campaign to change behaviour and get more users on Uber: Sanjay Gupta, CMO, Uber India

Conceptualised by Taproot Dentsu, the TVC tries to tell customers to think of Uber as their own personal car. Experts think it is an opportunity lost and could have easily been any cab-hailing service’s motto.

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Updated: Aug 10, 2017 7:42 AM

Uber India launched its first-ever TVC in India on Wednesday, after four years of operationsin the country. For their Indian users, their message through the TVC is that users can treat Uber like their own car, be it grocery shopping, a family outing or a ride back from office.

Even without the TVC, Uber is an ubiquitous brand with vast digital presence, partnerships with movies and others brands like Paytm, TVF, Forever 21, etc. Last year, Uber introduced a digital brand campaign titled Move Forward that was targeted at the supply side of the business.

Given all the brand presence that Uber has, we asked Uber India CMO, Sanjay Gupta, what role willthe TVC play for Uber. “The Move Forward campaign was more about brand purpose and stating the ‘why’ of Uber. The TVC is more about brand marketing. We want this campaign to change behaviour and get more users to use the platform,” he said. Cab-hailing apps like Uber have already changed consumer behaviour in India and owning a car is not being looked as a necessity anymore.

Uber currently has 5 million weekly active riders in India and team Uber is hoping to add more customers with this new campaign. The reason Uber has opted for a TVC this time and not just a digital campaign is because “our scale has dramatically increased since last year,” Gupta said.

Speaking about the business problem that Uber is seeking to address with this ad, Gupta said that the company noticed that customers used Uber sparingly. The team found that users either considered taking an Uber an indulgence or did not prefer an Uber over their own vehicle. They the learned from Uber regulars that those who frequently use Uber, think of Uber as their own car. “It is from that idea that the ‘apnapan’(kinship) theme was born,” Gupta said.

The ad campaign has been conceptualised by Taproot Dentsu. Speaking about how the team approached the brief from Uber, Umesh Shrikhande, CEO - Taproot Dentsu, said, “A genuine and warm thought that could tie it all together with ease was the need of the hour. The idea for this came from a simple cultural truth which is when something is ‘apna’ it is no longer an indulgence as it then becomes your own.  We often make our guests feel at home by saying “Ise apna hi ghar samjho.” Inspired by that insight came the line‘Uber. Ise apni hi gaadi samjho.’ The entire campaign is now being woven around this belief of ‘apnapan’ which in turn is the core brand truth.”

The sustained brand campaign will run for 12-18 months across all mediums. Gupta said that Uber will come out with fresh ad films under the ‘apnapan’ umbrella theme in a few months. While Gupta declined to comment on the marketing budget for the campaign, he said that Uber will use its marketing monies efficiently on television.

Expert View:

While the ad trended on Twitter within hours of its launch, experts feel that the ad does not deliver in terms of function or form. “The ad tells me nothing new. The reasons they list in the ad are exactly the same reasons you or I would use a taxi anyway. It does not give me a solid reason to prefer Uber over Ola,” said Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner/Chief Creative Officer at BangInTheMiddle. He added that the ad does not bring to light any unique features of Uber. He said, “This could be the ad of any other cab-hailing brand as well.” He added that the tagline “apnihi gaadi samjho” cannot ring true with customers because a cab will have tell-tale signs of the previous rider or the driver himself may have bad body odour. “I will never feel at home in a cab,” he said.

The expectations from the ad were high, given that this was Uber’s first TVC in India at a time when the brand is in the news for all the wrong reasons. “The ad delivers a message but fails to draw an emotional connect with the viewer,” said N Chandramouli, CEO, Trust Research Advisory. “The entire culture of Uber is supposed to be very cut and dry and what is really missing is emotion. They could have infused some emotion. This ad was an opportunity lost,” he added.  

Uber India is in the middle of fixing a lot of pain points for drivers and customers alike. From disgruntled drivers who are complaining of reduced incentives to customers forever grumbling about the Rs. 350 minimum Paytm balance, no one seems to be happy with Uber. “Uber has many significant problems that it needs to address and solve,” said Suthan.

Chandramouli echoed Suthan’s thoughts and said that he wished the company would first address the issues of the drivers themselves, who are in fact Uber’s brand ambassadors.

Agency- Taproot Dentsu India

Agnello Dias – Chief Creative Officer

Santosh Padhi – Chief Creative Officer

Umesh Shrikhande – Chief Executive Officer

Pallavi Chakravarti – Executive Creative Director

Neeraj Kanitkar- Creative Director

Shashank Lanjekar- Head, Strategic Planning

Almas Ahmad- Planning Director

Ayesha Ghosh – General Manager

Radhika Sabherwal- Senior Account Director

Production- Red Ice Films

Director- Shimit Amin

Music- Roshan Machado

Producer- Basab Dasgupta, Priyank Mishra and Gary Grewal

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