Namah Chawla

“India travels in two and three-wheelers”: Uber India’s Ameya Velankar

Uber’s new campaign wants to move beyond cabs and target people who are tired of commuting via crowded public transport. A chat with its marketing head and FCB’s Moumita Pal.

For most people, ‘Uber’ is all about cabs (cars), and not two or three-wheelers. To change this consumer perception, the taxi aggregator platform has released a four-ad campaign. It aims to drive awareness about two affordable categories - Uber Auto (three-wheelers) and Uber Moto (two-wheelers).

Often challenges of everyday commute can become a hassle, especially when one has to travel by public transport. These films are inspired by real life stories of people who had the courage to break the status quo and pursue their aspirations.

Speaking about the idea behind the ads, Ameya Velankar, head of marketing, Uber India South Asia, says that the platform wants to reimagine the way people move for the better. He adds, “Our obsession and ambition is to provide access to millions of resilient aspirers in this country, through reliable, affordable and safe mode of transport.”

Ameya Velankar, Uber India South Asia
Ameya Velankar, Uber India South Asia

According to Velankar, studies have shown that public commute options can be quite inconvenient. As a brand that wants to provide seamless and reliable mobility, Uber wants to make the lives of travellers much easier and become an aid in their journeys of ambition.

Post the second COVID wave, the two and three-wheeler category has been instrumental in Uber’s recovery. Uber Auto and Moto’s business has already recovered more than 180 and 140 per cent respectively, as compared to pre-COVID times, as per the brand’s team.

The creative development of the campaign, titled ‘Bas Socho Aur Chal Pado’, has been done by FCB India. Dentsu Webchutney is behind its social amplification strategy and execution. MediaComm has supported the campaign’s media planning and buying.

The four films are in six languages - Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi and Telugu. The campaign is live across various owned, paid, social, influencer and digital channels, as well as TV, cinema halls, OOH and OTT.

Moumita Pal, creative officer, FCB India, reveals that the first thing that Uber told the agency (FCB) was that it needed to move beyond cabs. Uber wanted to take a leap and talk to people who are tired of commuting via crowded buses and trains. “The creative brief to us was a one-liner that said, ‘Unique humans making decisions under pressure’.”

Moumita Pal, FCB India
Moumita Pal, FCB India

According to Pal, one thing that every person in a creative agency - right from an intern to the creative director and CCOs - look for is a courageous client. While the brand-agency partnership has just started with this campaign, the former pushed the latter to tell stories that made them uncomfortable, as well as think hard.

Pal explains, “The aim was to tell the users that just because it’s Uber, doesn’t mean that it’s expensive. The perception is that Uber, as a brand, is a bit premium and offers cab service. Even if people are aware that Uber offers two and three-wheeler services, they still assume that it must be expensive. The task was to tell them that it costs just Rs 19 for four kilometres when you book an Uber Moto. Plus, the rider also beats traffic in the process.”

As per Velankar, Uber Auto and Moto are means to unlock a massive (total) addressable market in this economy.

“India doesn’t travel in four-wheelers, it travels in two or three-wheelers. Affordable and ‘hailable’ products, like autos and ‘motos’, help us to reach new riders. Especially in emerging economies, this is a very critical product portfolio to drive new user growth and make Uber accessible to millions of users. We are doubling down on ‘hailables’ to grow our consumer base, and expand to newer cities and geographies.”

Unlike regular autos, Uber Auto has features like doorstep pickup, comes with transparent pricing and has digital payment options.

On how to address the safety issues that the drivers or the riders may have, Velankar says, “At Uber, safety never stops. We always prioritise the safety of our riders and drivers. For example, for the drivers, Uber has a 24x7 helpline, in-app support and multiple touchpoints where they can reach Uber in person or through phone. We also have features like on-trip insurance. Our aim is to make them feel safe and heard.”

The share trip feature that allows the rider to share his/her trip status with five of their loved ones, emergency button and speed limit feature help to ensure the safety of Uber riders.

When asked about Uber’s biggest competition, especially in the ‘hailables’ category, and how the brand intends to tackle it, Velankar says, “We are competition aware, but not competition obsessed. We are consumer obsessed. Our single-minded attempt is to improve the experience of the consumers, who depend on Uber for their daily commute.”


Brand: Uber India

Agency: FCB India, Delhi

Creative Team: Surjo Dutt, Abhijeet Ray, Moumita Pal, Anusheela Saha, Rajani Kumari, Deeksha Bhatt, Jatin Sangwan

Account Management: Debarpita Banerjee, Sharad Phalgun , Suvek Sundar, Vaidehi Tandon

Account Planning: John Thangaraj, Mohini Varma

Production House: Green Grass Films

Director: Anaam Mishra

Producer: Rachita Chowdhury, Akash Sharma, Anand L

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