Shreyas Kulkarni

Uber's new PSA goes against its bread and butter

The cab-hailing app thanks people for ‘not riding’ in the PSA - a nod to the era of quarantine, and how staying indoors is the safest option now.

Uber's new PSA goes against its bread and butter. Created by advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy Portland, the PSA sees Uber thanking people for not booking and riding in cabs, for a change.

It's a brand communication meant for the quarantine era.

The Coronavirus has prompted cities and countries across the globe to impose varying degrees of lockdown. Public health organisations have asked people to practice social distancing to combat the virus' spread, along with frequent hand-washing and, more recently, wearing masks at most times.

This PSA, like several ads these days, is a montage of home-shot video clips – lockdown and quarantine have made it impossible for regular shoots to take place. We see people staying upbeat, communicating with loved ones over video calls, trying to keep fit, and stay hopeful – something the world desperately needs right now.

At the end, there's a message from Uber, summing up everything, "Stay home for everyone who can't. Thank you for not riding with Uber."

On March 31, the cab-hailing app posted a similar message on Instagram. Uber asked people to stay indoors, while stating it will help drivers, delivery people and restaurants, and supported this statement with a hashtag #MoveWhatMatters.

Thomas Ranese, vice president of marketing, Uber, told Muse, "We wanted this to be a PSA with heart — from a company that is synonymous with movement, thanking you for not moving, because right now that helps save lives."

Also Read: Uber India will now deliver groceries and essential goods to your doorstep

In India, Uber has taken certain initiatives to assist brands to reach their customers during the lockdown. On April 6, it announced a partnership with Walmart-owned e-commerce major Flipkart to “...provide their customers enhanced access to essential supplies across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.”

It has also partnered with online grocery giant BigBasket and Kolkata-based retailer Spencer’s Retail for its last-mile delivery service. The former being available in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Noida, while the latter in Kolkata.

On March 31, Uber announced the launch of a new service called 'UberMedic'. Through the service, the brand will facilitate top-rated drivers and cars to allow health workers to reach their workplaces, and then back home in the most efficient manner possible.

It is also working on an Uber Care Driver Fund, which aims to financially assist its drivers during the lockdown. As of April 9, "...driver partners on Uber’s platform began receiving the first batch of grants of Rs 25 crore..." Uber created this fund in partnership with leading social enterprises Give India and Samhita.