Even as the major food-tech companies in India are spending big bucks to woo customers — Zomato launched a large outdoor campaign last week, and Foodpanda has signed Shah Rukh Khan — UberEATS employees have taken it upon themselves to help promote its offerings.
Uber has been producing a series of short-form videos called What India Eats, in which Uber employees visit restaurants and sample their food. Five videos have been produced so far, and each features a quirky new restaurant from India. The videos talk about the restaurant, its owners, and of course, the food. The UberEATS branding is minimal — the video don’t mention they’re produced by UberEATS save for a small logo at the very end.
“The thought behind the videos is to create content that appeals to consumers, tells a story and gets them excited about trying out new restaurants on our platform. Essentially, something that feels less like an ad and more like a friend telling you about a cool restaurant they tried over the weekend,” says the What India Eats team. The project was led by Uber employees Jonathan Ryan Davis and Akshay BD, who traveled from Uber’s US headquarters for the project. The team made sure it was being frugal while creating the mini-series. “The budgets were very thin. Our major cost was only hiring production equipment,” says the team.
The videos, though, are slickly produced, and could help UberEATS break the marketing clutter in the crowded food delivery space in India. It helps that Uber is promoting them through its already-popular social channels, and the videos, with their short-form format, are tailored for social media. In addition to helping spread the word about new restaurants among food enthusiasts, the videos will likely serve another purpose — they’ll help UberEATS build relationships among the restaurant community. These relationships can come in handy — Zomato, thanks to its decade old presence in the space, is able to effortlessly launch loyalty programs like Zomato Gold and Zomato Treats, given the trust it shares with its restaurant partners. UberEATS, being the newest entrant in the space, is hoping to build a similar rapport with restaurants, and creating individual videos for them is a nice personal touch.
And the fact that the effort is conceptualized, produced and shot by employees makes the whole project pretty unique. Uber is known for being lean, but to have a handful of employees create their own video series and have it run on social media is impressive. “We pitched the idea to Uber’s Chief Brand Officer, Bozoma Saint John, and Bhavik Rathod, Head of UberEATS India who agreed to have us travel to India for 3 weeks and shoot as many episodes as we could in that time,” says the team. And if the project takes off, Uber could put more of its resources behind it. “The first series has 10 videos. Depending on the reception of the videos, we will take this to more cities and restaurants,” says UberEATS.