Uber Bangalore and Zoom partners for Ride Smart Bangalore Campaign – marketing exercise with a social cause

ride-smart-bangaloreUS Based on demand car service Uber, which has recently expanded its operations in India, starting with Bangalore, has announced a joint campaign with Bangalore based car rental service Zoom called #RideSmartBLR!, through the event the companies are not trying to promote car rentals in general but are also trying to bring awareness among people regarding safe driving habits.

The campaign is a way to spread awareness and empower Bangaloreans to choose smart riding options available in the city and is based around a theme “Be Green, Be Thrifty, and Be Responsible” (don’t drink and drive).

While explaining to Iamwire what’s the idea behind partnering with a company which itself might place competition to Zoom’s business, David, co-founder Zoom said, “Uber has had a huge amount of success partnering with Zipcar in the US and other car-sharing companies elsewhere in the world.  Neither business model competes with the other, but they both compete with private car ownership.  So it makes a lot of sense to unite against our common enemy!”

“Take Uber when you want a driver, Zoom when you want to self-drive,” says the campaign.

Why to go for car sharing or car rental?

In a country like India where the average income of the people is quite low, car sharing and rental services have seen a huge uptake in the recent past with a number of services launching in the country. It’s a general fact that car ownership requires a fixed cost which includes purchasing a vehicle, paying insurance, and renting or buying a place to park the vehicle whereas the variable costs are relatively low, which include fuel and maintenance.

Here comes the phenomenon of car sharing which inverts this cost picture i.e. no fixed costs and as the members pay on the basis of how much they use thus costs much lower than the cost they have to incur when they owe a car.

Car sharing doesn’t only help people to save some money but also has environmental and social impact.  “This positive impact is not only in developed world cities, but also in developing countries such as China, Turkey, and Brazil.  The potential impact in India is much higher than in developed countries for several reasons,” says David Back. “We think that the relative appeal of car-sharing over private car ownership will be greater in India than in the developing world,” he added.

As found by City CarShare, 29% of their San Francisco members sold at least one car since joining, compared to 8% in a control group.  That represented 10 vehicles taken off the road for each City CarShare vehicle.  In Philadelphia, each Philly CarShare vehicle took 11 vehicles off the road.  ZipCar reported that 13% of its members in Boston and DC have sold a car since joining, and more than 40% avoided buying one as a result of joining. Frost & Sullivan, a consultancy, conducted a study in which they concluded that each ZipCar replaces 15 cars on the road.

Thus a fall in the number of vehicles on the road not only reduces pollution but also reduce traffic and the parking congestion.

This would be first time, that an initiative taken by a car rental service in the country,  is not only a kind of marketing exercise but also has a social message.

Also, throughout the campaign, people who haven’t used Uber before can get a free ride (up to INR 500 whereas people who hasn’t used Zoom before can get a free 3-hour weekday reservation with any Zoom car except the BMW.

Events are also planned all over Bangalore to promote the campaign, the first one is today at the Puma Social Club, click here if you are a Bangalorean and still unaware of the event.

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