Axis Bank to Aam Aadmi Party to Uber CMO...

By Abid Hussain Barlaskar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing
Published : May 21, 2019 05:03 AM
Meet Manisha Lath Gupta, in her latest avatar.

Cab hailing platform Uber just announced its International Cricket Council partnership as the official sponsor of the ICC Men's World Cup 2019. Uber's first 'multi-country' campaign 'This World Cup, Every Fan Wins' is supplemented with the tagline 'Uber Karo, World Cup Chalo' along with the brand's soon-to-be-unveiled World Cup anthem "Way-O, Way-O".

The campaign is live in seven cricketing countries (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK) and clubs the ride-hailing app with its food-delivery companion - Uber Eats and their various services.

The world cup will be played in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14 with an estimated global viewing audience of 1.5 billion.

Manisha Lath Gupta Manisha Lath Gupta

"India, being the lead market, is leading the campaign and the India arm of the campaign is the full stack. Other countries are opting for various parts of the campaign like Uber Eats-only or digital only," says Manisha Lath Gupta, the recently-appointed marketing head of Uber India and South Asia.

As part of the campaign, Uber ride/Uber Eats orders earns 'runs'. After collecting a certain number of runs, the user will qualify for a chance to win a 'match package' for the World Cup in England, among other prizes. It's not just users, drivers also collect runs and stand a chance to win. The ads for Uber rides feature Uber's ambassador - Virat Kohli.

"The objective of the campaign is to humanise the brand and drive demand. These are good months for that," says Gupta. While the Uber Eats campaign will be largely digital, Uber rides' is more of a 360-degree campaign. The brand team is currently working on an "interesting engagement" for radio. "I am a big believer in radio, but it has to be used correctly. Just running spots doesn't work. The 'driver' campaign will also be present on the radio because our driver partners listen to the radio," she adds.

The campaign has been crafted partly by an Ogilvy team led by Sonal Dabral and by Uber's in-house creative team. "We work with agency partners when we feel the need for the expertise of an agency. Otherwise, a lot of the work is done in-house. The campaign for Uber rides was crafted by Ogilvy and Uber Eats' was done in-house," Gupta says. The Uber-ICC anthem (to be launched before May 30) is written by Dabral and sung by artists from five countries.

When asked if the 'go to World Cup' and 'win prizes' bait works for a new-age, digital-first brand like Uber, Gupta says, "We have gamified the experience. It is a high-frequency product. There is a lot of engagement with the 'runs' per rides and I think it should work."

Again, RCB's (Virat Kohli's team) performance in the just-concluded IPL, left a lot of sore Kohli fans. So would the rolling out of an endorser campaign right after, worry the Uber marketer? Gupta states, "It doesn't. We've used Virat (Kohli) in such an interesting manner and it brings a smile to everyone's face. I think the fans would forgive him if they are upset."

After four marketing roles, two entrepreneurial roles, a political stint and spending almost 16 years in the industry, Gupta joined Uber in March this year. She moved to Gurgaon from Mumbai three years back after selling Mojarto, her entrepreneurial venture, an online art marketplace, to NDTV. "As part of that deal, I had to come and run it out of Delhi. Also, I am from Chandigarh and for us to come up North was sort of on the cards. We lived in Mumbai for almost 20 years, our parents were ageing and we wanted to be closer to home. It fit into the plans," says Gupta.

About her joining Uber, Gupta says, "I was head-hunted. Somebody approached me; I applied for the job. What excited me is Uber is changing our cities and mobility, it's like a once-in-a-generation company. I don't think I would have done any other head-of-marketing role."

She started as a senior product manager with HUL (2001) before joining Colgate Palmolive (2004) working on brands like Colgate Dental Cream, Max Fresh, Active Salt etc. She joined Axis Bank in 2010 and left (2014) the company as its head of marketing to volunteer for the Aam Admi Party. Gupta then started Mojarto (2014). She later joined Clix Capital (2017), a financing solutions provider. Gupta also co-owns Aanandaa Farms, a 'permaculture farm' in Haryana.

When asked how her role as a marketer has changed with a young brand like Uber, Gupta says, "At the heart of it, it doesn't change as we are dealing with humans. People are thinking about something and you want them to think differently. That's the fundamental job. In some categories, there are existing constructs and the shifts are very incremental. In a category like mobility (Uber's), the shifts are huge. As for the barriers and triggers... we don't even know what they are."

ALSO READ: "I'm realising the perils of marketing": Manisha Lath Gupta, Aam Aadmi Party

Speaking on her mandate at Uber and the challenges at hand, Gupta says, "We are trying to deepen the meaning of the brand; trying to build more qualities apart from simple 'mobility' and we are trying to bring in human elements. Also, in the category, demand has to be driven by marketing communication and advertising."

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