New Delhi: Cab hailing app Uber on Friday announced the appointment of Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli as its first brand ambassador in India. The company is currently working on a multi-media campaign featuring Kohli which is expected to be released in the next 2 to 3 months. The ad will target both driver partners and riders of the ride sharing app.

Apart from the multi-media campaign, the company said Kohli will also be actively involved in a series of marketing and customer experience initiatives to be rolled out by Uber India in 2018.

“Virat personifies dynamism, integrity, grit, ability and passion. He is the embodiment of India’s ambitions on the world’s stage; he anchors the aspirations of billions, and it’s the little things he does that bring joy to their lives. It’s this balance of purpose with a larger responsibility to citizens of the world that makes him the perfect partner to realising Uber’s commitment to India. We are super excited to have him join the team at Uber India," said Sanjay Gupta, head of marketing, Uber India and South Asia.

Gupta further added that Uber has proliferated at an explosive pace in India with millions of active users and hundreds of thousands taking their first ride each week.

“The marketing strategy is focussed on growing our existing rider base, while continuing to acquire new riders, using products across our wide portfolio as levers for growth. There is also a strategic focus on connecting with the driver partners, who are key to our success in India. We are working on a creative concept, that aligns with Virat’s personality and our brand persona," he said.

According to celebrity managers, Kohli charges Rs3 crore a day for shooting a brand activity taking his yearly brand endorsement fee to Rs9 to Rs10 crore. Currently, the cricketer endorses several brands across categories, including Swiss luxury watch maker Tissot, sportswear brand Puma, men’s ethnic clothing brand Manyavar, Punjab National Bank, MRF Tyres, and Colgate’s SuperFlexi Toothbrush.

“I think Virat is a perfect fit for Uber India. In fact, any brand association with Kohli, given where he is, makes sense. He is on top of his game as well as the brand deals. Kohli stands for world-class performance, great delivery and quick recall and I think all these attributes are something which Uber also wants to represent through its service," said Indraneel Das Blah, chief operating officer at Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions, a talent management firm.

Uber entered the India market in 2013. It currently has about 450,000 drivers and operates in more than 30 cities across India. At the moment, in India it offers 11 products including Moto (a bike taxi option), Auto (auto rickshaw option), Pool (car sharing option), Go (economy class), X (sedan class), Black (SUV and high-end cars), and Hire (for day-long trips), Premier (upgrade to X) and intercity services among others. It competes with other cab hailing apps and services like Ola Cabs and Meru Cabs.

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