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Uber rolls out first television ad in India

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-08-2017 Saumya Tewari

New Delhi: Four years after entering the India market, ride hailing app Uber has rolled out its first television campaign in an attempt to create a strong brand connect among Indians. Laced with a heavy dose of emotions, the spot created by advertising agency Taproot Dentsu urges consumers to consider Uber as “Apni Gaadi” (one’s own car).

The 40-second spot is a montage of visuals of people taking an Uber cab. The film features a grandmother reaching out to the cab driver, a female employee asking the driver to wait after pulling off a late night shift and a man taking the cab outside an airport as the voice-over says how Uber has become a part of the daily lives of riders across the country. The ad also brings out nuances such as an Uber driver avoiding potholes because the passenger is a pregnant woman or how in another frame he turns off the music when an elderly passenger dozes off during the ride. The spot ends with the company urging consumers to try Uber because it offers an experience as comfortable as one’s own car with a very “desi” tagline, “Isey Apni Hi Gaadi Samjho”.

“When Uber entered India four years back the product market fit and the need of a cab hailing service was high. Therefore, word of mouth and referrals helped the category to become large. We never felt the need to venture into traditional advertising either to build the brand or create a narration around the category,” said Sanjay Gupta, marketing head, Uber India. “Now, we have realized the need to establish a narrative for the brand Uber. Also, many people have experienced Uber cab service once or twice and through this campaign we aim to increase the consumption by contextualizing usage for them,” he said.

Uber claims to have completed 500 million rides in 29 cities across the country.

The multi-platform campaign will be promoted across streaming platform YouTube, social media giant Facebook and radio. The television and radio leg will also be promoted in multiple languages like Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.

“The Uber experience is as good as having your own car, and sometimes even better. And this experience is something we think everyone should enjoy. So we’ve attempted to capture the Uber way of life through a simple thought around ‘apnapan’,” said Pallavi Chakravarti, executive creative director, Taproot Dentsu.

Naresh Gupta, strategy head and managing partner at advertising agency Bang in the Middle admits that the tagline “Ise Apni Hi Gaadi Samjho” is a brilliant attempt at personalizing a global brand. However, he is quick to add that the execution takes away the emotional appeal of the campaign.

“The whole emotional feel of owning a car is not coming out well. All they want to say is don’t own a car; call an Uber, the tagline captures the thought well but the television commercial hard sells. They are trying to say too many things in a single frame - a classic mistake that most digital companies tend to do make in their advertising,” he noted.

Gupta feels that global brands can take a leaf out of Amazon’s book when it comes to advertising strategy which is not product centric.

“Amazon creates consumer stories keeping away the product and does it so well picking beautiful Indian insights. I wish Uber could have pulled off something similar because they managed to create a very desi tagline,” he added.

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