Can Virat drive Uber towards success with #BadhteChalein?

Sneha Yadav
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Uber Badhte Chalein

Uber Badhte Chalein gets mixed reaction for roping in Virat Kohli. Social Samosa attempts to understand how Kohli as a brand ambassador affects the brand.

‘Each trip represents more than just a physical journey’, connecting millions of people every week - formed the insight of Uber India’s latest brand campaign. Promoted heavily through an integrated marketing strategy, #BadhteChalein is built around the brand’s new positioning that is intended to build Uber as an enabler of movement, that is culturally progressive.

With Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador, Uber is riding high on its mission to redefine mobility while millions of Indians set out on remarkable journeys. In this campaign, Virat plays the role of the brand’s voice to help build Uber’s narrative in India.

Set against Virat’s narrative, the commercial showcases four real life inspired examples of riders using Uber in different contexts, to pursue what gives them purpose.  Conceptualized by Ogilvy, the ad features a visually-impaired rider, an expectant couple rushing to the hospital, a young female doctor commuting to work and an independent mother taking her daughter to an early morning judo class.

The video was released across all its social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Twitterati were taken for a surprise when Uber India randomly started tagging people on its tweets asking them to have the first look of how Virat is gearing up to . According to Tweet Binder, the hashtag has garnered 5,192,161 impressions so far with over two thousand people participating in the conversation.

On Facebook, the video didn't receive much traction, with most of the comments on the post being around Uber's services and issues faced by passengers.


A six month multi-platform campaign, will span ATL (TV, Radio, OOH, Print) as well as Digital (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Content publishers) as well as Uber owned CRM Channels and locations. Given the scale and geographic footprint that the business has achieved, the TVC and radio campaigns will be aired in six languages Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Telegu, Tamil and Bengali.

However, Uber India's campaign wasn't spared by the observant netizens, many of whom asked where the brand fit was? Why would a high stature personality like Virat Kohli hail the cab service which he is urging others to take. The backlash also puts the focus on over-discussed topics of celebs endorsing brands they themselves don't prefer using.

Also Read:  Uber vs Ola Children’s Day campaigns

Experts Review:

publive-imageSandip Maity, Founder & CEO, Experience Commerce-

"I didn't get what the brand is trying to achieve with this campaign. Uber is an experiential brand and most people who use the services first time get hooked by the product and service delivery standards. Virat kohli is asked to deliver a flat and inspiring script which in my opinion doesn't move any needle for the Brand. I am sure they have a good reason.. it's just that I can't fathom it."

publive-imageShrenik Gandhi, CEO and Co-Founder, White Rivers Media-

"The latest campaign of Uber India, 'Badhte Chalo’ is a fabulous concept and a very good brand positioning for Uber. While that is there, I am a bigger fan of the old brand positioning which was ‘Isse Apni hi Gaadi  Samjho’. Indians still consider taxi a taxi and a lot of times people are not comfortable to leave their car and travel in a cab, so that was a much better brand positioning. Coming to ‘Badhte Chalo’ it is very beautifully shot, though it felt a bit verbose a couple of times. Taking Virat was a great decision because he resonates with a lot of generations and obviously has a very bright future. Hence it’s a perfect match for the brand. The only concern here is that brand Virat should not overshadow brand Uber in India and if that is being taken care off by the right  media

buying I don’t think there should be an issue."
publive-imageVimesh  Shah, Vice President,  Infectious
"I liked the idea of positioning the ride sharing app as an enabler rather than giving it a pushy, tactical approach. The inspiring narrative along with moments from everyday life will surely help the audience connect it with their lives and hopefully make it memorable. Overall, the communication should help the brand stand on higher ground in an otherwise me-too space and earn a space in the hearts of consumers."

The changing narrative 

Operating in over 29 cities in India, the demand for Uber almost doubled in 2017 as compared to 2016 and reached 500 million rides milestone since its launch in the country. Among 650,000 Indian smartphone users surveyed by KalaGato, 28.7% have the Uber app installed. It’s all a result of various safety initiatives and campaigns undertaken by thh cab aggreagtor to reach the vast population of our country.

In 2014 with an email campaign urging consumers to trust its services, Uber made its comeback on the streets of India after being banned in several cities. The cab aggregators’ services were stopped as an aftermath of a Uber driver accused of raping a female passenger. The email petition and a #BringUberBack social media hashtag urged users to voot for its return. Post this there was no looking back for Uber India. The campaign garnered support from thousands of people while Uber upgraded its safeguards for a secure trip.

To mark it’s relaunch in Delhi NCR, Bangalore & Mumbai, they roped in celebrities like Ranvijay Singh, Neha Dhupia and Zaheer Khan as influnecers and launched a campaign called Rider Zero. As part of the campaign these influencers were made to try out Uber’s service for the first time “secretly”.

Not far  away from social media, Uber has been constantly leveraging special occasions like Children’s day in it’s significance. In 2017, Uber used nostalgia and childhood memories to bring in the importance of the brand in people’s lives as a part of the Children’s day campaign titled ‘Koi Naa’ under it’s Move Forward initiative.

Also, just after releasing its first ever integrated marketing campaign ‘Apnapan’ the cab aggregator giant rolled out ‘Uber JOURNEYS’ in September 2017, a collection of video stories about the role played by Uber in the lives of riders and driver-partners.

Apart from this, Uber has had two major campaigns, #ApniHiGaadi and Uber Moves India, both of which were based on fare amount of emotions. 

Colloquially Uber's campaigns are predominantly based on emotions - one of very few topics that are bound to hit the spot in India. With Virat Kohli as their brand ambassador, Uber plans to make it a drive of a lifetime; can it though?
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