Bringing Back Memories
The food delivery app recycles memorable ads of the ‘90s.
Most Millennials and some others who were exposed to Indian television during the ‘90s will surely recall ads such as Dhara’s ‘Jalebi boy’, the Cadbury Dairy Milk girl with her strange dance on the cricket field or even Nirma Super’s ‘Deepikaji’ with her ‘paar ki nazar’ for ‘sasta’ options. Hitting the nostalgia button, online food delivery platform Uber Eats’ latest digital campaign — ‘Purane prices, Naya app’ — brings a little bit of those three iconic ads back to life. The campaign is a collective of three digital ad films titled — The Flatmates, The Classroom and The Office — each one cashing in on the popularity of those three classics.
Apart from maintaining a similar jingle, storyline and rehashed dialogues, ‘The Flatmates’ video features the original Jalebi boy — Parzaan Dastur. In this rendition, Dastur, now all grown-up, leaves his apartment with bags packed as he feels quite ignored by his flatmates. However, he promptly returns when he finds out they’ve ordered biryani via Uber Eats.
The second ad, ‘The Classroom’, pays homage to the famous Dairy Milk TVC complete with the famous ‘Kuch khaas hain’ tune and corresponding wild dance routine. Here, the girl is portrayed as a student who celebrates a successful food order placed on Uber Eats while still in class.
The third in the series, ‘The Office’, showcases a new-age officegoing ‘Deepikaji’, but one who shares the same ‘paar ki nazar’ (a keen eye) for the best options available just like her counterpart from the ‘90s ad. While the Deepika from the original TVC chooses the cheaper and better Nirma Super, the new one opts for the newer, more affordable Uber Eats options over the alternatives.
The videos have so much more than mere “Easter Eggs” that allow viewers to reminisce; the comparison is quite obvious and makes a bold statement in today’s digital-first arena, especially for online food ordering platforms which are still spreading their wings.
afaqs! Reporter got in touch with Namita Katre, head of brand, strategy and campaigns — Uber Eats, to find out more about ‘Purane prices, Naya app’. In Katre’s words, the ads were more of a tribute to the iconic ads of the past and aimed at evoking nostalgia while still delivering the brand’s message.
“We went back to the brands such as Mondelez and Dhara and shared the idea that we were interested in recreating their ads as a tribute. We carried only the basics like the storylines and music, which are symbolic. Although we haven’t named the brands, the ads are a compliment,” Katre says.
Speaking about the selection of the three ads chosen for the campaign, Katre says, “We had a lot of iconic
The ads were conceptualised by the in-house creative team at Uber Eats. “We are the newest kid in the block. This messaging helps us convey that Uber Eats is a new app while inviting people to get on-board because of our value for money offering.” NAMITA KATRE
ads to choose from, but we picked the ones which had the strongest emotional connect with viewers. Some scored more than others and had a better connect for us to be able to weave in a message of not only ’90s nostalgia but ’90s prices too. They provided us with a rich creative springboard.”
afaqs! Reporter also asked about the ‘naya-purana’ tag that is a bit edgy in a new-ish genre like online food ordering and delivery. Katre explains that the ‘naya’ or newness of Uber Eats simply means that the brand isn’t amongst the first movers in the online food delivery space. “We are the newest kid in the block. This messaging helps us convey that Uber Eats is a new app while inviting people to get on-board because of our value for money offering,” Katre states.
About why Uber Eats chose to go ahead with its in-house creative team instead of roping in an advertising agency, Katre explains, “We use agencies who are external partners depending on what we are working on. On this one, it was the in-house team’s understanding of the nuances of value communication, the category, the competition, and more than anything else, speed, agility and nimbleness that our internal agency brought to the fore. We do work with external agencies occasionally when we are looking for fresh perspective and the depth of a collective experience.”
Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO and founder of Brand-Comm, is of the opinion that although the ad films did a fairly good job at cuing a ’90s memory, they seem self-indulgent and made from an ad person’s perspective. “The idea was ‘purane zamane ka prices’. McDonald’s did something like this some years back with a spoof/ mimicry of veteran Bollywood actors while delivering a brand message of a pocket-friendly price from a previous era. It’s the same thought. Again, invoking memories of ’90s ads and the brand’s price point is a bit stretched,” Sridhar says.
The ads from the campaign, are more like a breath of fresh air for Ashish Khazanchi, managing partner, Enormous Brands. “The casting for the ad referencing Dhara is a minor coup. Somewhere we’ve forgotten that brands do have a purpose and it’s not always to imbue the consumer’s life with highfalutin meaning. We no longer live in a time where you create an ad and it stays forever. The pace is more important. It has been done well. There might be minor flaws, but they are not relevant,” he says. ■