Virat Kohli is officially the new face of Uber India.
The cricket superstar added the ridesharing app to his long list of company endorsements earlier this week. The new “Badhte Chalein” slogan translates to “Move Forward” in English and Uber hopes that both it and its celebrity spokesperson will help the company beat its rival Ola for customers.
“Every day, you and I move with purpose. And Uber helps moves us forward, one ride at a time,” Kohli wrote in a Facebook post sharing the inaugural ad in the campaign.
In the ad, viewers watch as Kohli and several other young Indians living in a bustling city head to work, tend to their children and go out socializing. The Uber riders highlighted include a young mother, a visually impaired rider and a young female doctor tending to her patients. LiveMint notes the campaign will run for the next six months on both television and radio and include spots in Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Telegu, Tamil and Bengali.
“In the context of where India is today – home to a fourth of the world’s 100 fastest growing cities – Move Forward as a brand idea fits Uber’s scale, encompassing a vision of meaningful progress – for riders, driver-partners, as well as the cities we serve. It is in line with our long-term brand strategy to create an aspirational alternative to private vehicle ownership for India,” Uber’s director of marketing Sanjay Gupta told LiveMint.
The big question, according to advertising experts, is whether the new advertisements will definitively make Uber the preferred ride-sharing app in India. The company has an uphill battle. While Uber India currently has roughly 450,000 drivers and is available in 30 Indian cities, it’s popularity is far eclipsed by Ola. In addition to that, many users on social media say that they would rather Uber focus on things like driving regulations and passenger safety instead of getting a celebrity endorser. “Women safety and passenger safety is still not being looked into properly,” one Twitter user noted.
Other companies Kohli has endorsed include Audi, Tissot, Puma, and Colgate.