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Ola attempts to make ‘Ola Auto’ synonymous with auto rickshaws across India

Conceptualised by Happy mcgarrybowen India, the campaign has started with two ad films. ‘Auto Means Ola Auto’ campaign has been launched in four languages – Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. The aim is to reach new cities and expand the market

Click on the Images to watch the TVC.

After about three years of venturing into providing auto rickshaws, Ola Cabs has now started promoting and advertising its services. In an effort to emphasise ‘Auto Means Ola Auto’, the company has launched a campaign in four languages – Auto Bole Toh Ola Auto (Hindi), Auto Andre Ola Auto (Kannada), Auto Anthe Ola Auto (Telugu) and Auto Na Ola Auto Than (Tamil).

Launched in Bengaluru and Chennai in 2014, Ola Auto is currently operational across 73 cities with over 1.2 lakh autos associated with the company. Ola cabs are present in 110 cities.

The proposition of Ola Auto includes various features – rides starting at just Rs 29 for the first four kilometres, free Wi-Fi, wide availability, doorstep pickup and cashless payments.

Mudit Shekhawat, Senior Director, Marketing, Ola, said, “Ola is by far the largest aggregator of autos in the country and it’s an integral part of Ola’s mission of building mobility for a billion Indians. Considering the massive opportunity in the unorganised auto segment, we think there is a huge opportunity to bring more autos on to our platform and transfer the benefits of our platform to both customers (through tech-enabled value-adds to their rides) and to our driver partners (through increased earnings and lesser idle time on the platform). There is no reason why anyone with a smartphone should be taking regular auto-rickshaws.”

While cabs and taxis are considered to be slightly sophisticated means of reserved public transport, auto rickshaws are more Indian and routine for most Indians. Be it the metros like Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, where public transport (metro and local trains) is quite strong, or the tier II cities like Nagpur, Pune, Bhopal and Lucknow – auto rickshaws run as the pulse of the cities’ transport systems.

Shekhawat said, “With auto being one of our fastest growing categories, our current focus is on smartphone-owning offline auto customers; and hence we are working on several features that will help us in removing all the barriers for accessing Ola’s services. Launching features such as enabling commuters to access Ola’s services even if they don’t own a smartphone or have internet connectivity, is something that’s in the pipeline. Other than this, we will be scaling up autos further, taking it to many demand heavy tier-II and tier-III cities.”

Due to this dependence on auto rickshaws, Ola’s entry into a convenient way to get an auto rickshaw was widely applauded.

No other national player has entered the auto aggregation sector. Shekhawat added, “A few players have explored the auto-rickshaw segment in the past and some continue to operate in this segment. We believe there is a massive untapped opportunity to add value in the auto-rickshaw segment. Driver partners on Ola Auto platform earn up to 40 per cent more than other drivers. Drivers have witnessed a reduction of at least 35 per cent in their idle time and 22 per cent reduction in fuel costs which was otherwise wasted over looking for potential customers. For customers, benefits include app-based convenient booking, transparent pricing, door-to-door service, cashless payments and live GPS tracking of rides and free Wi-Fi.”

With the new campaign, the company aims at reaching in new cities and expanding market and reach in the cities where the service is already launched. While Ola Cabs has been fighting for its share in the cabs aggregation market, it has no competition in the auto aggregation space.

Adding more on the objective of the campaign, Shekhawat said, “The objective of the campaign is to reach out to a much larger commuter base and ensure top-of-mind recall for Ola Auto for every auto rickshaw user in India. Through our campaign, we look forward to further consolidating our position of market leaders in the auto space as well as reiterate the benefits Ola Auto offers to its commuters. The TVC campaign reinforces popular public opinion of Ola Autos being synonymous with auto rickshaws across the country.”

Conceptualised by Happy mcgarrybowen India, the campaign has started off with two ad films set in a classroom and a supermarket. In both the films, the protagonist asks a friend if they should return home by auto rickshaw and then, in a split of a second, an auto rickshaw breaks through the wall and enters the spot in a dramatic manner. The auto rickshaw driver then asks, “Did you call for an auto?”. The films end with ‘Auto Bole Toh Ola Auto’.

Kartik Iyer

Kartik Iyer, Chief Executive Officer, Happy mcgarrybowen, said, “As Indians, we are all used to taking autos as a commuting option. So technically we are not giving the consumers a new commuting option. But what Ola has managed to deliver is to change how one experiences using an auto rickshaw. Doorstep pickup, Rs 29 for 4 kms and above that the free Wi-Fi are things you can only get in an Ola Auto. In many ways, this is the new auto. So, the idea was to associate the auto experience with Ola. We took these promises as our starting point and decided to make this new experience of taking an auto synonymous with Ola and hence the campaign thought of ‘Auto Bole Toh Ola Auto’.”

While this is a television commercial, the campaign will also be extended to other platforms. Explaining further, Shekhawat said, “This is a long-term, pan-India campaign. In addition to the TV and online campaigns on Ola Auto, we have also been organising ‘auto driver partner mela’ across cities to invite more auto drivers to enrol on the platform. Driver partner melas help Ola nurture micro-entrepreneurship in the ecosystem, creating a steady stream of supply to address the burgeoning mobility needs of India.”

The TVC:


Creative Agency: Happy mcgarrybowen

Chief Executive Officer: Kartik Iyer

Chief Operating Officer: Samarjit Choudhry

Executive Creative Director: Rajesh Mani

Creative Team: Vijay Joy

Creative Director (Copy): Bobby Thomas

Creative Director (Art): Sabu CV

Associate Creative Director (Art): John Karol

Group Head (Art): Ajeesh TA

Group Head (Art): Shinoj Padmanabhan

Senior Art Director Strategic Planning Supervisor: Chithra Arunagiri

Associate Vice-President: Ameya Lokhande

Accounts Team: Siddharth Sharma

Account Director: Agnimita Dey, Senior Account Executive

Production House: Handloom Picture Company

Producers: Bhavin Gajria, Prasanna Bhende

Director: Ram Subramanian

Tags: Ola Auto
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