Mobile app-based taxi aggregator, Uber India, has recently launched a new digital campaign, Uber Journeys. The campaign is a collection of video-stories about the lives of passengers and driver-partners. Currently the brand has launched its first video and plans to launch more under the Uber Journeys campaign. 22feet Tribal Worldwide is the agency on the account.
We spoke to Sanjay Gupta, head of marketing, Uber India and asked him if this is a CSR activity?
He says, "No it is not. We wanted to create campaigns with our riders and driver-partners. On a daily basis, we find a lot of stories that are truly fascinating and which we want to share and be a part of. This is not an ad; there is no CSR element to it, this is about us telling the world what happens at Uber, who our riders and driver-partners are. CSR for us is something that makes a tangible impact. This film is more of a brand narrative. It is a brand film where we are trying to showcase how technology helps the rider solve his problems in a meaningful manner."
Since Falodia is an employee of Tata CLiQ, we asked Gupta if Uber and Tata CLiQ have a tie up. He says, "We contacted Ruchir because of his story and then found out that he works for some organisation that happened to be Tata CLiQ. There is no partnership with Tata CLiQ."
In the recent past, there have been brands that have done cause-related ads. The most recent one being, H & R Johnson. We went on to ask Gupta that if a brand doesn't stand for a cause today, is it doomed?
Gupta says, "It depends on where you start from. I believe everybody should do it and try and make this a better world whether it is through a campaign or a CSR activity, the brands should go out of their way to make the world a better place for all of us."
Talking about what engagement means to him, Falodia, says, "Engagement is not just about likes and comments. It is about someone being interested in a page and checking out what's happening on Tata CliQ and what are they coming out with. Once you have achieved that kind of an interest, that's the real definition of true engagement."
Adding about the shooting challenge, he says, "Apart from the weather, because it was raining, everything was smooth. It was a two-day shoot, but I'm used to interviews so it was ok for me; not much of a challenge. Of course, I was in touch with the concerned person at Uber who was taking care of the shoot and he explained the logic behind this film. I was using Uber for a very long time so I was pretty comfortable with the whole concept."
With regards to the objective of doing this film, Falodia, says, "The reason for doing all this is not because of some selfish popularity index measurement. My objective for doing this is that somewhere, someone would see this and understand that visually impaired guys can do this as well. Now, the mentality is that they will take an easier subject. Someday some CMO, CEO would see this and would be interested in giving us a chance. That's the objective, that it will create some awareness.
In the past, brands have explored the route of making cause-related ads. We asked our digital expert that since this is becoming a common thing between Indian brand videos, do brands need to work very hard to create differentiation?
Carlton D'Silva, chief executive officer and chief creative officer, Hungama Digital Services, says, "I feel that brands can do better and are trying too hard to draw an emotional response. We have a herd mentality when it comes to ideas unfortunately and when one route does well, many want to adopt the tried and tested model. We need to realise that each idea/ route does come with an expiry date."
D'Silva feels it is a well shot ad. "However, the subject is very ordinary and the route has been used before by a number of brands," he says.
We asked D'silva as well about brands standing for a cause, and if they would be doomed if they didn't? He says, "I really don't know if this is one of those ads that states what the brand stands for. I feel that the brand acts as a catalyst here to make things happen."
A look at some of the old ads by Uber India: