On a Maiden Ride
What makes now the right time for Uber’s first TV outing? That’s one of the questions we asked the brand’s recently appointed marketing head Sanjay Gupta.
What makes now the right time for Uber’s first TV outing?
To answer that question, we started four years back and during this time the market grew dramatically. What has changed recently is our scale of operations,” explains Sanjay Gupta, Uber’s marketing head before adding, “we are now in 29 cities and just completed 500 million trips so television now becomes an efficient medium to have a conversation with your consumer. In the earlier avatar, when our consumer base was smaller, one-on-one communication on digital was more effective and efficient. If you look at the spends or the amount of work that we do, digital is still our lead medium but we are now starting to put a little bit of television in our advertising mix because it has become efficient given the scale of Uber.”
Of late, Uber created major buzz in the Indian marketing hub with new announcements popping up every now and then. First, a new creative agency (Taproot Dentsu) comes on board, then we are introduced to the new marketing boss and now the app based car service company has made its debut on television with its first ever TVC in India. Is this a mere coincidence or are we missing something here? “We were always looking at television, so irrespective of who I think would have been the marketing head at Uber, this would have happened. But yes, I have done this before and I believe very strongly about this medium (television) as well. My role, however, would have been a very small in the larger scheme of things”, informs Gupta.
The 46-second-long ad, which
Titled ‘#ApniHiGaadi’, the ad was released recently on the brand’s YouTube page.
“We are now in 29 cities and just completed 500 million trips so television now becomes an efficient medium to have a conversation with your consumer.” SANJAY GUPTA
was released recently on the brand’s YouTube page, is titled ‘#ApniHiGaadi’. Gupta tells afaqs! Reporter that there is a bigger agenda here. He says, “...we realised that those who ride with us more frequently have actually made Uber their primary mode of mobility. So, if they are car owners, they stopped using their cars or reduced its usage dramatically. Or people who don’t own cars can postpone buying one because they can stick to Uber. Hence, for the infrequent users we wanted to communicate that Uber can fulfil all the requirements that one’s own car does.”
The ad portrays various situations in which people are shown boarding an Uber for different purposes. A layman may perceive Uber’s target audience to be the working class individuals who take Uber for work. However, that’s not quite the case here. “When we started doing our consumer research, our hypothesis told us that people like you and me are the ones who use Uber for reaching offices and hence digital is going to work. But both quantitative data (which is where people take rides) and the qualitative data (on why people take rides), really surprised us. We saw that there is a large portion of people who use Uber for other than work purposes. For example on weekends or during mid-break, the diaspora that uses Uber is very different from you and me. We have a lot of elderly people who don’t want to drive anymore and they also don’t want to keep a driver because they go out only 5-6 times a month. Lots of women and families have just one vehicle in their house and if the person who is working has taken that to work then the rest of the family members take a cab. So when we started getting this information, we did more research and we realised that more and more people use Uber for different occasions and that is how the film came about. In a nutshell, it basically depicts what is happening,” elaborates Gupta.
However, an Uber TVC with zero mention of discounts or deals? In times when both Uber and Ola are just a swipe away, what gives Uber the confidence of ignoring the price sensitivity of its market while communicating higher order concepts like caring and belonging? Gupta shares with us, “...the success of the campaign will be if you can bond a little more with Uber than Ola. So, if you look at our app today, there are lot of promos and discounts that our riders get. What you see in this ad are our most valuable riders, who will choose us irrespective of the alternatives available. Our best riders will come to us for the ‘Uber experience’.”
Taproot Dentsu is new to Uber and Uber is new to TVCs; hence what was the brief that the agency kept in mind while crafting this ad since there was no reference point per se? Pallavi Chakravarti, executive creative director, Taproot Dentsu says, “The brief was well-defined - how do we make Uber usage happen every day, for everyone? How do we move it perceptually, from being an indulgence used for special occasions, to a habit? How do we infuse warmth and forge a connection with people from different walks of life, across geographies? Our thinking was simple - once you own something, once it’s yours, it stops being an indulgence. That’s how ‘Isey Apni Hi Gaadi Samjho’ was born.” ■