Industry POV

Uber India's Debut TVC Aims to Make the Uber Driver's 'Aspirational - Sanotsh Padhi


Uber, the global taxi hailing app, has been present in India for over three years now and it will not be wrong to say that it has changed the way people commute significantly. Uber India started its journey in Bangalore and is now present in nearly 30 cities including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Guwahati, Jodhpur, Kochi and Kolkata. Today, it has a large number of loyal users and is working towards creating a million-strong community of entrepreneur drivers.

In order to strengthen its position, Uber India has launched its first ever brand campaign - 'Uber Moves Shankar'. Designed and conceptualized by BBH India, the campaign is inspired by stories from Uber riders and drivers demonstrating the way in which the brand has empowered Indians across strata of society. The spectrum of influence is from the everyday commute to life changing opportunities like helping drivers educate their kids.

This film shows a father dropping her daughter to school in a car. Once, the father drops her daughter to school, he then begins his day as an Uber driver. The film traces the day in life of a driver partner and its riders while highlighting the role that Uber plays in their day-to-day life to make it more enriching and meaningful.

The campaign reflects on how Uber is providing a platform to move forward - giving riders the freedom of mobility to have an accessible, affordable and reliable option; giving driver-partners a livelihood with dignity that they pride themselves with and the progress they are making as they become their own boss and micro-entrepreneurs.

Speaking more about the campaign, Ashwin Dias, General Manager at Uber, said, "We are excited to launch Uber India's first brand campaign 'Move Forward' which is inspired by true stories about empowerment. At Uber we are deeply committed to enabling our driver partners to improve their livelihoods; and giving our riders the freedom of mobility."

Arvind Krishnan, Managing Director, BBH India, said "Uber came to us with a very clear challenge: create work that is true to Uber but will drive a step-change in adoption. To help scale the service in India (and possibly, beyond) we had to create an organizing idea that will work for driver partners as well as for riders. We worked hard on uncovering the voice of Uber and the rest of the campaign flowed from there. The team had to don many hats in this process and having an energetic, digitally native team made it a memorable one."

Speaking about the campaign, Russell Barrett, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer at BBH India, said, "Given how ubiquitous the service has become we had hundreds of ideas but we decided to go with this concept because people will be able to relate this to their own Uber experiences. It's a simple yet powerful idea. It's a story that could very well be the story of any one of the thousands of Uber drivers across India. We hope, that as the campaign unfolds, we are able to tell more and more stories about people who are themselves moving forward."

This is a multi-platform campaign comprised of digital, print and outdoor. The films have been produced by Black Sheep Live, BBH's agile production arm.

In the India market, Uber is having a tough competition from Ola. Ola has a stronger youth connect, while Uber is much of a choice for 30+ people. The latter is foraying into the Enterprise marketing.


Uber is definitely urging more and more drivers to join their fleet. So, will this ad campaign connect with the drivers and consumers and stay true to Uber's proposition?

Santosh Padhi, Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder, Taproot India likes the commercial and thinks that Uber has been able to make a difference to Shankar's (driver) life as he is able to send his kid to a posh school. "When we order a cab, we expect a sophisticated and a humane driver who is clean (not stinking), talks politely, not chewing tobacco. So, by showing a daughter in the film, the brand brings a human angle and reflects that Uber drivers are normal people like us who have a family and are working for a cause. The campaign has a dual message where consumers are told that Uber focuses on taking the right guys onboard and secondly Uber is looking for nicer guys. Also, this campaign film clearly talks that Uber is a family brand," shares Padhi.

Prabhkar Mundkur, Chief Mentor, HGS Interactive too finds the campaign interesting. "I think it makes becoming an Uber taxi owner quite aspirational because the little girl and the father look quite well to do. The school in fact seems to be upper class. It also does seem to fit in with the reality. I have met a lot of well spoken Uber drivers who are educated and decent people just like me. I guess this commercial will help Uber to differentiate itself from Ola who perhaps has drivers from a lower middle class maybe and not so educated, decent. The commercial indirectly makes you feel safer in an Uber."

Uber has not been a very advertising -heavy brand. It has mostly focused on digital and on-ground activations. On most occasions, it has entered into partnerships with other brands such as London Dairy, Reliance, Paytm, TVF, Nanhi Kali and others. So, why does Uber India needs to advertise?

"The way we are situated in India, one needs to have their ad-presence. And, if you do not do it, then you will not be in the consumer's head for sure. They need to be on all the mediums. Most consumers have a certain perception about the brand, so the latter should convey their USPs or try to erase the negative perceptions towards a product or a service," Padhi adds.

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To this, Mundkur states that maybe the competition is becoming fierce from Ola as the latter is getting good funding, so it is important for Uber India to strengthen their position and market value.

The campaign will definitely make a buzz among the audience as we are waiting for more such heart-warming ads from the brand.