There is no denying that app-based cab services like Ola and Uber are reshaping the way Indians commute. But, their growing popularity seems to have irked Mumbai's iconic 'kaali-peeli' taxi drivers who perceive these services as adversely affecting their business.
As Mumbai's taxis went on strike to protest against the app-based cab services, the chronicler of modern India, Amul, documented the scuffle in its signature style. 'Kaali - Peeli Ka Jhagda Chhodo' read the dairy brand's new outdoor ad, in which the ever-cognizant Amul girl is seen pacifying the rivals. Noteworthy is the fact that, this time, the beneficiary of Amul's advertising is brand Uber, which shares the stage with the moppet yet again. Uber was last featured with her in the 'KhUberdaar Kyun Nahin Thhe' ad.
Dubbing it as a battle of the old and the new, Rahul daCunha, owner of daCunha Communications, which has been Amul's creative partner for decades now, adds, "Both services are crucial for Mumbai, and we want them to make peace with each other. Although one feels nostalgic about the black and yellow taxis, it is to be acknowledged that the likes of Uber and Ola have revolutionised commuting, making it safer, professional and convenient."
However, on Uber, and brands in general, making an appearance alongside the Amul moppet, daCunha clarifies, "We comment on events as they happen. The use of any brand or celebrity in our advertising is always topical and is not meant for promotion."
The ad will be promoted on outdoor and digital mediums. On the outdoor front, while hoardings have been put up across Mumbai, there's an emphasis on South Mumbai because the issue finds greater relevance in that part of the city.
According to Prathap Suthan, managing partner and chief creative officer, Bang in the Middle, the ad is in line with what Amul, as a social commentator, has been doing and has come to stay. "It's topical as usual, and comes through as the voice of the consumer or the people of Mumbai, and even India," says Suthan.
"The writing is on the wall for local taxis. Unless their systems and meters and everything else delivers par value to people, no one in their right sense will hail a cab. And for what? How can you win a war with old dilapidated cars, rum-smelling drivers, highly suspect meters or no meters, and higher costs against spanking new cars, polite drivers, tech payment systems, app based services, and lower costs? It's a huge win loaded in favour of the app based taxi fleets," he reasons.
Suthan does acknowledge that it's a livelihood issue for the taxi drivers/owners, and hopes that they get their act together in order to coexist in the new ecosystem. He dismisses the view that by singly and visibly pitting it against the 'kaali-peeli' taxis that stir up memories of the city's past, the ad could end up hurting Uber's image. "Uber is a great brand, and the quirky things it comes up with occasionally, add a whole new feel to this otherwise bland and unimaginative category. What it needs is an incorruptible and citizen skewed infrastructure," he asserts.