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Uber is navigating its way through Delhi smog, launches new campaign

Pollution in the Capital is churning the conversation mills globally, the American ride-hailing and sharing service pitches in

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

air pollution, car pollution
The company has launched a campaign urging citizens to leave their cars at home and use public transport instead

Outrage over the deplorable quality of air in the country’s capital has taken over every conceivable conversation thread — be it inside court rooms, homes or online, on people’s social media timelines. And the American ride-hailing app, keen to position itself as a responsible mobility solutions partner tuned into local concerns, is navigating its way through the smog, looking to bolster its appeal among customers and policy makers alike.

Uber has just launched a campaign, expected to play out over the next month, to promote use of public transport and its ride-sharing service. The campaign draws on a study by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2016 that said that almost 40 per cent of Delh's air pollution is created by vehicles and passenger cars contributed to around 10 per cent of the total emission.

Manisha Lath Gupta, head of Marketing, Uber India & South Asia says, “We wanted to do a citizen outreach campaign in which we wanted to invite citizens to leave their personal cars behind. Delhi is well poised for that transition, it has a great metro network, a strong bus system and Uber offers a variety of options. That is the intention behind the campaign.”


Such campaigns, according to a recent survey by global consumer research agency Mintel, tap into one of the big drivers for behavioral change today and that is ‘wellbeing,’ which stands for a desire for physical and mental wellness. Matthew Crabbe, director of Mintel Trends, APAC expanded upon the phenomenon in the report to point out that in the coming years brands will increasingly seek to become wellbeing partners with their consumers and clean air and water will become selling points.

Uber’s new campaign is a move in this direction as Gupta explains that in Delhi there is pride in car ownership and with this campaign, the company wants to change that. The campaign will play out across media channels and is being packaged with a 15 per cent discount code for Uber Auto, Moto, or Uber Pool from metro stations. URJA (a resident welfare association), Delhi Clean Air Forum and the Lung Care Foundation are also supporting the campaign.

In print, the ads will take on the behaviour of car ownership vs shared transport and encourage people to leave their keys at home. On radio, the interactive elements will be put to play with radio hosts seeking out and rewarding people for their responsible behaviour and on digital, short films would elaborate on the nature and number of options that people have when it comes to transport. “When we participate in a campaign like this one, it really positions us as a partner or an operating system for the city,” Gupta added.

The campaign also positions it within the local context as Gupta says, “It is a very hyper local campaign and well within the budget. The company will measure the impact of this campaign over next four weeks and the results will help it to decide on how to scale up or extend the same or similar kind of campaigns in other cities.”

First Published: Wed, November 06 2019. 23:55 IST