‘Joint campaign for Uber Rides & Uber Eats aimed at humanising the brand’

Manisha Lath Gupta, Head of Marketing, Uber India and South Asia, talks about the latest campaign, roping Virat Kohli as brand ambassador and more

e4m by Anjali Thakur & Priyaankaa Mathur
Updated: Aug 21, 2019 4:58 PM
Manisha Lath Gupta Uber

With just a few days left for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, brands have started coming up with campaigns and strategies around the mega cricketing event. 

The World Cup will be played in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14 with an estimated global viewing audience of 1.5 billion. Once in every four years, the World Cup period becomes the time when brands go all out on advertising to get viewers’ attention across the cricket playing nations.

Cab hailing platform, Uber, the official sponsor of the event, has come up with its campaign ‘This World Cup, Every Fan Wins’. It aims to create a culture of togetherness and puts cricket lovers at the heart of the celebration, which includes the World Cup’s first and very own anthem - Way-O, Way-O. The campaign is live in seven cricketing countries (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK) and clubs the ride-hailing app with its food-delivery companion - Uber Eats and their various services.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Manisha Lath Gupta, Head of Marketing, Uber India and South Asia, talks about their latest campaign, roping Virat Kohli as brand ambassador, their marketing strategy and more.

Uber has recently associated with World Cup 2019, what is the benefit you expect out of the partnership? 
For the first time, Uber has done a multi-country campaign across 7 to 8 countries. And for the first time we're doing a campaign across both Rides and Eats. Traditionally, we've been operating their campaigns quite separately. But for the World Cup, we've actually built a joint campaign across Eats and Rides. From a campaign perspective, what's interesting is that we have tried to do brand building through this campaign as per demand generation. We are also trying to humanize the brand, bring in more values, make it more about the community and about the people. 


Virat (Kohli) continues to be a brand ambassador, and on the right side. During the World Cup, he will be all over the place. Not only will he be on the field, but he will be pretty much in every ad that plays during the World Cup. So, we were very cognizant of that. And we've tried to project and portray that out in a very interesting manner, which will, we believe will be quite clutter-breaking and stand out. 

With respect to Uber Eats, it is just a simple demand generation campaign telling people that if they order on Uber Eats, they could actually get a chance to go for the World Cup.

How is your association with the World Cup going to benefit you as a company?
From a brand perspective, globally, we have a couple of objectives. One is to give more meaning to the brand. The second is to humanize it. And the third is to help marketing the brand to generate demand. With respect to bringing people together, sporting events really have a lot of synergy with Uber. And that's the reason why we chose a big sporting event like the World Cup for sponsorship and association.

What was the aim behind choosing Virat Kohli as your brand ambassador, in a day and time, when brands are moving towards social media influencers? How has your association with the cricketing star boosted the brand’s visibility?
I think Virat has really helped us in breaking the clutter and create far more impact for our communication than it would have otherwise. The use of a celebrity helps you to be just more impactful and efficient in creating awareness for the brand.

We would, however, like the platform at all points in time to reflect the community that uses the platform. This platform belongs to drivers and riders and we would like the platform to be portrayed like that. And that's the reason we've portrayed Virat the way we have. The fact that he plays the driver in our films, and the interaction that you see between the riders and the drivers, that's the kind of community we would like to have as role model on our platform.

Last year, we did our first brand campaign ‘Badhte Chalein’, with Virat. Our idea was to build awareness, and to build some consideration for the brand. And we did see an upswing in both those numbers. Celebrities help you to cut through the clutter and get much more bang for your buck.

You have also launched Uber Eats. With existing players like Zomato, foodpanda and Swiggy, how have you managed to get going in the race?
We launched our first campaign on UberEats early in January with Alia Bhatt, which was also popularly known as the Tinda campaign. We managed to strike a good chord with our target audience because it resonated with them - the fact that sometimes you just don't want to eat what's cooked at home, and you want to order it. From a brand perspective, we've seen a huge increase in awareness and our consideration scores. Right now, we are present across 30 to 40 cities. And even though it's a very competitive market, I think we're doing quite well.


How do you plan to allocate your spends towards various platforms?
It will vary from campaign to campaign. I think our idea is always first to figure out what the campaign is, what we are trying to achieve and then find the right platform to meet the campaign’s objectives. To illustrate a point, for the World Cup there is a lot of viewership on Hotstar, so we will be present on Hotstar but for another event or another campaign, that may not be true. So we make our choices on media once we decided what the objectives of the campaign are.


We’ve developed a holistic 360-degree media approach rooted in consumption moments through our ‘day in the life of our consumer’. We have a sponsorship-led media approach, offline and online, ICC broadcast with Star TV and Hotstar as well as over-indexing on Cricbuzz to build association and engagement with cricket fans throughout the ICC World Cup. Further, strategic focus on leveraging key social networks, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter with highly engaging and digital-first creative formats to engage with our consumers across every touch point. In addition, we also intend to strategically leverage OOH, Print and Radio to build seamless engagement with consumers and deliver our brand narrative.

With only a couple of similar players in the segment, perks like discounts can have a major influence on consumers. So, where does brand loyalty stand in this case?
As a marketing team, we are entrusted with building brand loyalty. And for us, it's important, therefore, to deepen the meaning of the brand and to humanise the brand further. If you look around, even as consumers, when we look at things that we own, we don't necessarily always buy the discounted things, we are willing to pay premiums for some things because we feel they're worth that money. We love those brands. And I think that's the place where the marketing team is trying to take over.


What can we expect from Uber in the coming years from its marketing end?
From a marketing end, the World Cup campaign is the biggest that we are going to be doing this year. So you can expect a lot of action over the next 45 to 60 days.


We have some very exciting ideas on social, which you should watch out for. And they will roll out over the next 45 days. We've also put together a really exciting anthem Way-O, Way-O which has been sung by five singers from around the world and will also break towards the end of the month. Going forward, a lot in terms of market creation and category building work will be done around this platform.

On activations
We have planned some really exciting and creative elements and activations to keep our eaters, riders and partners engaged throughout the World Cup. We are running a demand generation campaign for our consumers as well as partners. Through this campaign, we will provide passionate fans (riders, eaters, driver and courier partners) a chance to win merchandise as well as a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a trip to the World Cup and experience the thrill of a LIVE game. We’re hosting a series of activities that include LIVE screenings at PVR Cinemas and launch meets for drivers among many other experiences.

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