Home / Industry / Uber India rolls out first ad campaign with Virat Kohli

New Delhi: Ride hailing app Uber has launched a new campaign in India featuring cricket captain Virat Kohli, its first brand ambassador in the country signed up in March. The brand, which had launch its first television campaign ‘Isse apni hi gaadi samjho’ in August 2017 to increase the adoption of cab hailing service, has now tweaked its strategy to make Uber a more aspirational and meaningful brand.

Made by advertising agency Ogilvy India, the new ad spot features youth icon Kohli highlighting how millions of Indians beat the odds and push hard to progress in life.

The 30-second spot is a montage of stories of different people trying to make the best of their lives. Among these Uber users are -- a visually-impaired rider, an expectant woman, a young female doctor commuting to work and an independent mother taking her daughter to an early morning judo class.

With a new tagline ‘Badhte Chalein’ (move forward), the campaign aims to position Uber as a brand that is beyond transportation and reinforces its role as an enabler of opportunities for both driver partners and riders. Sanjay Gupta, head of marketing, Uber India believes that while the previous campaign made the cab hailing service more relatable with everyday India, the current campaign represents meaningful progress.

“In the context of where India is today – home to a fourth of the world’s 100 fastest growing cities – Move Forward as a brand idea fits Uber’s scale, encompassing a vision of meaningful progress – for riders, driver-partners, as well as the cities we serve. It is in line with our long-term brand strategy to create an aspirational alternative to private vehicle ownership for India," he said.

The integrated campaign will run for six months across television, digital, print, outdoor and radio. The television and radio spots will also be aired in six languages including Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Telegu, Tamil and Bengali.

“The campaign is led by a set of interconnected films. Virat stars in the manifesto film along with a cross-section of everyday warriors who have their own four different stories told through four individual films. Together, they create a rich tapestry of engaging stories," said Sonal Dabral, group chief creative officer and vice chairman, ‎Ogilvy & Mather. A manifesto film is that where the protagonist talks directly to the viewers about his/her life experiences.

Uber, which entered India in 2013, has about 450,000 drivers and operates in more than 30 cities across India.

Narayan Devanathan, group executive and strategy officer, Dentsu Brand Agencies India thinks that Uber was on its way to establish a distinctive emotional connect with its previous ‘Isey apni hi gaadi samjho’ campaign. “I’d have imagined they’d pursue more story-telling that combined the functional with the emotional. I’m not sure about the need for this manifesto-like campaign now, it may have been a specific segment or situation-based trigger that resulted in this campaign, so it would be unfair of me to say it doesn’t help it," he said.

As for being progressive, Devanathan believes that a company born in the 2000s need not call out its progressiveness with its advertising. “There are stickier issues that taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola are facing in India and around the world. I’d have liked to see how they could have pushed the boundaries of passenger safety, customer service issues (refunds, waiting time and cancellations) and establish a functional superiority over the competition. Hopefully, they will highlight these features in their upcoming campaigns," he added.

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