Interview: Everywhere you see, you’ll see our campaign: Manisha Lath Gupta on Uber’s World Cup association

Uber World Cup Association

In a first, Uber came on board as Associate Sponsor for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. In line with the sponsorship, the brand rolled out a multi-platform campaign, with the objective of humanizing the brand and demand generation.

Manisha Lath Gupta, Head of Marketing, Uber India and South Asia, in conversation with Social Samosa shares how, #RideToWorldCup is Uber’s first global campaign. Sharing the details of the campaign, Gupta opines that sports makes for a nature brand fit for Uber and dishes insights that led to the association.

Excerpts below.

This campaign marks a major first for Uber. What does Uber being the Associate Sponsor for ICC Cricket World Cup entail?

There are a number of firsts for Uber with this campaign. It’s a multi-country campaign done across eight participation nations.

India is the lead country for the campaign, it basically means that we led the campaign for the entire globe, put together all the marketing elements and go-to-market plans.

Other countries have adopted and implemented the plan either in totality or in pieces. We have a unified demand generation campaign across Ride and Eats for the first time. There are a lot of brand values we’re getting from this association.

As Uber, what is your objective from this association?

From this association, we’re trying to achieve two things. One, we’re trying to humanize the brand and build more emotional and community values around it.

Second, the campaign should act as a demand generation campaign – which should get people to take more rides on Uber or order on UberEats.

We’re happy with how our communication has shaped up because we believe that our campaign meets both of our objectives.

How will you back this sponsorship with a marketing plan? Tell us about the key highlights of the campaign. In how many phases will the campaign be executed?

We have an extensive multi-channel campaign. It has been developed by Ogilvy and went live on May 13. We have Virat who continues to be our ambassador, however, we have casted him very differently.

We had the insight that during World Cup, Virat would have a lot of exposure as the Captain and all the other brands he endorses also would be very active. So, we decided to take a fresher take and cast him as a driver in our communication.

We’re covering all modes of transport that Uber offers – Intercity Car, Uber Auto, Uber Moto, a motorcycle taxi (in the communication in Bangladesh), and Uber Go in the campaign.  

Virat is portrayed as a very endearing driver, with the messaging showing a warm interaction between the rider and driver. The communication is directed by our in-house team and conveys that with every order and every ride you stand a chance to go to the World Cup.

Also Read:#CWCSpot: Star Sports rolls out #CricketKaCrown as with ICC World Cup just around the corner

Tell us more about the demand generation aspect of the campaign

The demand generation campaign is a unified campaign across Eats and Ride. For every trip you take or every place you order from on Eats, you score runs which will keep totaling up. The total scores will gradually make the consumer eligible to attend the World Cup. Consumers can combine the points on Eats and Ride; they will keep receiving notifications with every update. Uber Karo and World Cup Karo is the promise. It’s a very high-engagement game because it’s been gamified within the app.

We’re running the same game for our driver and courier partners as well. For every time they offer their service they receive runs and stand a chance to win passes to the World Cup. Being a marketplace we have to serve both the supply and the demand side and the campaign meets that need.

Social Media plays an integral role in creating buzz & engagement for long-term sponsorships. Where does social media stand in Uber’s marketing plan?

There will be a lot of social media engagement that I can’t disclose right now. There is going to be a 3-minute World Cup anthem written by Sonal Dabral from Ogilvy and composed by music composer, Mikey McCleary. It’s an English campaign made in the international spirit representing all the participating countries. The video for the anthem is under production and it will go Live a day or two before the World Cup inaugurates. The anthem will also be played at the stadium.

What led to the decision of associating with ICC Cricket World Cup? Please share the insights and data points that went behind this.

Cricket and other sporting events are where people and communities come together. It moves people forward collectively and that’s what Uber’s brand philosophy is.

Sports is a very good brand fit for us.

How much have you invested in this sponsorship?

Unfortunately, I can’t disclose the numbers but this is the largest campaign we’re going to be doing this year. This is a multi-media campaign across Hotstar, Star Sports, OOH, Print, Radio, Digital, Social, and even touch points like our Partner Seva Kendra. There will also be special screenings for our drivers in partnership with INOX.

Everywhere you see, you will see our campaign that should give you an indication of the scale of the campaign.

What does your media mix look like? Will digital be receiving a major chunk of the total budget?

Television and digital are going to be our two big spends – the viewership on both the mediums is right there. We will be using some of our other channels as reminder mediums; radio and social will also be used as engagement mediums.

The purpose of every channel will be different, but the bulk of the spends will be directed towards television and digital.

With the scale of the campaign that you just described, how do you plan to recover the investment? On what parameters will you calculate RoI?

We will be measuring RoI on a couple of things. One, we will see how our brand metrics move; we’re looking at that very closely in terms of brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand footprint. Secondly, because it’s a demand generation campaign so we’ll be looking at an upside of trips and orders – this we can measure on a very micro basis and get a lot of insights from it.

Do you see Uber dabbling in sports partnerships apart from Cricket in the future?

Never say never. Who is to know what will be sponsoring in the future. But, a lot of these sponsorships in the future might be international in nature rather than local. World Cup too is global and you shall be seeing more of such partnerships.


A writer by Karma, grammar Nazi by heart and traveler by hope, Saloni loves to pen about anything under the sun. With six years of journalism experience under her kitty, Saloni has tried hands on various beats including – Social Media, e-commerce, Mobile, Indian radio, Advertising, Food and Travel. Writing for various national and international publications has given Saloni an understanding of the science of social media.