Aditi Srivastava

When Ola put cameras in its cabs...

This was part of a recently held campaign in which musician Ankur Tewari drove regular Ola Prime SUV commuters to their destination.

Commuting from one place to another is often a stressful and cumbersome process, especially when public transport, including cabs, is involved. Now, imagine a change of scene where the cab in which you are supposed to travel comes along with a musician at the wheel who plays his own recorded song on the cab's stereo player and asks you for an honest feedback upon reaching your destination.

Keeping those customers in mind who use Ola Prime for commuting, and who look for value-additions to their often boring journey, cab-hailing service Ola went on an overdrive. It has partnered with Hindi-Indie singer and songwriter Ankur Tewari of Ankur & Ghalat Family fame, and Only Much Louder (OML), a premium live and content creation company, to launch a campaign that serves the twin purpose of advertising the cab's Prime SUV version, as well as promote upcoming singer Tewari's latest track.

When Ola put cameras in its cabs...
During the rides, Tewari played his new track 'Harkat', on the cab's music system. At the end of each ride, the commuters were asked to give him feedback on the song.

Based on the response of the passengers to 'Harkat', Tewari decides to include the track in his upcoming album 'Side A/Side B', to be released by mid-October.

When Ola put cameras in its cabs...
In a rather innovative bid, the video captures the reactions of 10 Ola passengers, hailing from different walks of life and professions. To the surprise of these passengers who are ferried by an Ola Prime SUV around different locations in Mumbai, the cab is fitted with pre-installed cameras inside where everything happening inside the cab is recorded. Tewari, who is at the wheel, informs the passengers the moment they enter the car that they will be part of a shoot as he intends to capture their reactions to his latest song. It turns out quite a joy ride, and a rather musical one at that for the passengers, who on reaching their destinations, are supposed to cast their vote -- a thumbs-up, a thumbs-down, or a 'so-so' response to the song.
When Ola put cameras in its cabs...
The video, titled Ola, Test Drive with 'Harkat' by Ankur Tewari Ft. The Ghalat Family, took an entire day to shoot, and was filmed at various locations in Mumbai.

As the car travels down the roads of Mumbai, the images flit from the Ola logo on the SUV to a collage of the passengers reacting in interesting ways. Giving it a humorous twist, the video has a couple of members from Tewari's own band hail the cab who are pretty surprised to find him at the wheel and wonder aloud if he has quit the band. In the end, it is a thumbs-up for the song.

The digital-only initiative aims to tap into its diverse customer base that ranges from business executives, entrepreneurs, and young professionals, to students and homemakers who travel in groups.

Most passengers were pleasantly surprised and were delighted to be a part of the activity. The song was selected for the album based on the live votes it received from the Ola Prime passengers.

"Tewari, who was looking for an innovative way to create buzz around his upcoming album approached us, and we felt that it would be a great opportunity for both Ola and Tewari to offer music lovers a unique experience," says a spokesperson from Ola in an e-mail interaction.

This isn't the first time that Ola has used musicians to promote its Prime version which has the SUV model added recently to its range. "We identified that our 'Prime' customers wanted more options, especially when travelling in groups, or to the airport, and needed a bigger car. This prompted us to add SUVs in the Prime category. We thought it would be a great idea to approach some popular music bands with multiple members, such as Raghu Dixit and Indian Ocean to avail of the 'Prime' experience so that the idea behind launching the product could reach the fans in an interesting and novel manner," says the spokesperson.

When asked about the challenges of shooting the video, the spokesperson shares, "A customer selects Ola Prime to avail a premium on-road experience. So, we took great care to ensure that the customer experience remains unaffected during the course of filming the video. Our team ensured that it captured a candid video without disrupting the customer experience."

Test Drive

When Ola put cameras in its cabs...
When Ola put cameras in its cabs...
Dharmesh Shah, national creative director, LIQVD ASIA, finds the effort on the part of Ola to associate with an upcoming musician a great idea. "It automatically puts Ola in the 'my kind of a brand' bucket," he says.

Commenting on the pros of executing such an effort, Shah feels that the video carries a fresh appeal along with a chance to go viral, if the celebrity, music in this case, becomes a hit. "For example, if this was Kolaveri D, then the brand would have got a lot of mileage. To take chances for the brand is 'Leader Speak'," he says.

On the flip side, lack of credibility of the video is a disadvantage as Shah is of the opinion that since some passengers are known to the singer, would the song (read content) created tank?

On the other hand, Arijit Gupta, art head, FCB Ulka Delhi, says, "Introducing OLA Prime SUV is definitely a good idea for large groups of travellers since the sedan is not good enough for this traveller category. But, it also needs to improve its overall service. The service has received a lot of flak from unsatisfied customers (in terms of promptness, time, and inexperienced drivers) lately, which has created a fair amount of baggage for the brand. The idea will work if this baggage is taken care of as soon as possible. There needs to be a parallel exercise in terms of resolving the customer issues."

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