Uber rolls out its first brand campaign in India

The campaign, Move Forward, which is inspired by real stories of Uber’s driver partners, comes as the ride hailing company completes three years of operations in India

Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

New Delhi: US-based taxi hailing company Uber has rolled out its first brand campaign, titled Move Forward, as it completes three years of operations in India. The campaign, created by advertising agency BBH India, is inspired by real stories of Uber’s driver partners on how the service has empowered them to lead a better life.

First in the series is an over-two-minute-long digital film called The Test , which opens with a young girl being driven to school. The girl, dressed in her uniform, is revising for her test in the back seat. The car gets stuck in a traffic jam which causes panic as the girl doesn’t want to be late for the school test. But the driver manages to get the vehicle out of the jam and drops her at school on time. At this juncture, the story unravels that the driver is actually the girl’s father who also happens to be an Uber driver. The underlining thought behind the campaign being: Uber has helped its driver partners to move forward and improve their livelihoods. The driver, in this instance, can afford English medium school education for his child.

A still from ‘The Test’.
A still from ‘The Test’.

Noting that Uber has completed three years in India, Ashwin Dias, general manager, Uber India, said that the company’s focus so far has been on building the brand and the business. “We thought it would be an opportune moment to launch our brand campaign, riding on our three-year anniversary. We hope to reach out to driver partners and riders both, but primarily catering to the rider audience. Even though the medium used would be digital, we are certain that we will reach out to driver partners as well, since the pre-requisite for them is to know their way around a smartphone,” he added.

The Move Forward campaign is multi-platform, which will be promoted across digital, print and outdoor. “Uber came to us with a very clear challenge: create work that is true to Uber but will drive a step-change in adoption. The Test being Uber’s first brand campaign in the country, we will reach out to all stakeholders be it driver partners or riders. This is a month-long initiative and there’s a lot more in store,” said Arvind Krishnan, managing director, BBH India.

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Uber claims to be present in 28 cities with over 400,000 driver partners. The company’s team size has also grown from 50 to over 500 members today. However, Uber’s journey has been bumpy in India because of regulatory issues with state governments, protests from traditional taxi drivers and surge pricing.

Naresh Gupta, strategy head and managing partner, Bang in the Middle, calls the campaign a two-minute indulgence from Uber which tells an emotional tale of driver and a rider.

“Many car brands have told the story of the bonding between car and driver. Maruti Esteem way back to Honda Amaze now are all about the story of driver and the rider or father and son. To that extent it is good to see that the father-daughter story is fresh. For me the film seems like an ad for a car brand till the father drops her daughter to school. It actually starts when he accepts the ride request on the Uber app and drives off to pick the passenger. The last 10 seconds tell me a lot about the Uber driver—of him being a responsible father and also doing well in life,” he explained. Gupta said that although Meru has also focussed on its driver partners but the theme was reliability.

“This film has the capability to make Uber a warm and loveable brand. It might also help it to overcome some of the bad press it has received in the past,” he said.

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