Evgenia Matrosova is the chief marketing officer of InDrive, an international ride-sharing app and global mobility platform operating in 48 countries, including Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia.
It’s rush hour on a rainy Monday morning. You’re late for work, and your car won’t start. You book a taxi on a ride-sharing app but, because of the weather and traffic, the fare has doubled. You reluctantly pay anyway because you have no other choice.
Traditionally, ride-sharing prices are defined by algorithms. InDrive defines prices differently, with our app facilitating independent drivers driving passengers, who both agree on a fair price.
When we changed our name from InDriver to InDrive last year, we launched our biggest-ever global rebranding campaign to share this change with the world. The first phase launched in 21 countries, with the second phase launching this year and incorporating new markets — including Morocco and Egypt.
To stand out in a highly competitive ride-hailing space, we knew our ads needed to be bold. By pairing our business model with YouTube’s ABCD creative principles — Attention, Branding, Connection, and Direction — we designed more than 1,600 video ads, including format variations. We wanted these ads to not only help us generate brand awareness, but also drive app downloads across multiple countries.
1. Attention: Hooking the viewer with emotion — including some yelling
We’ve seen that, when people aren’t happy with the price of a ride, they’ll yell at their phone. We loved that idea for InDrive’s video ads. It was such a simple concept, but so relatable.
The creative team jumped right into the action at the start of each ad, using over-the-top, close-up visuals of frustrated people to hook attention. This created a strong emotional setup that motivated viewers to keep watching.
Take a look at this Egyptian ad that adopts this emotive tactic:
2. Branding: Designing for mobile
We know from our own research that the majority of people watch videos at just 40% brightness on their phones. We made sure to account for that, designing our new branding collateral with a mobile-first mindset. We incorporated energetic colour palettes, snappy graphics, and a sleek logo to capture attention — even on a dimmer screen. This resulted in our rebranding approach.
YouTube’s ABCD creative guidelines recommend that a brand name appears in the first five seconds of an ad and be maintained to the end, which is advice we took on board. We also made sure to showcase our logo until just over the ad’s halfway point and used voice-overs to say InDrive’s name at strategic moments. This ‘see-and-say’ approach helped to drive ad recall.
3. Connection: Driving feeling through experience
While brands would usually showcase people’s experiences with their own products in their ads, we put that idea in reverse to drive connection.
Humour is a great advertising ally. When a person laughs at an ad, they connect with it and internalise the message.
By showcasing the frustrating experiences people might have when booking a ride, we shone a spotlight on the benefits of using InDrive. But this approach probably wouldn’t have worked without humour.
Humour is a great advertising ally. When a person laughs at an ad, they connect with it and internalise the message. That means they are more likely to remember the brand.
Being a global campaign, it was also important to account for local differences to connect with people. Not just in what people might think is funny, but in the overall look and feel of the ads.
That meant adapting material to fit each country's unique characteristics and humanising content through diverse actors, local languages and accents, relevant currencies, and accurate map locations wherever the app was shown in the ad. For example, this Egyptian ad features Arabic voiceover and copy, as well as Egyptian currency and locations on the app screen.
4. Direction: Steering action
While our campaign was primarily designed to generate awareness around our rebrand, we didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to encourage people to download and use our app.
With this in mind, our call-to-action messaging changed slightly depending on how familiar a market was with our brand.
In countries not as familiar with InDrive, our messaging honed in on the fact that passengers could agree on a fair price directly with the driver. For example, in this Moroccan awareness ad, a woman’s voice encourages people to “download InDrive and agree on a fair price together with the driver” while a person’s hand actually uses the app.
As countries became more familiar with our brand, call-to-action messaging became more specific, pushing passenger retention and encouraging people to use our app again. In this Egyptian retention ad, for example, our call-to-action message encouraged people to “choose your driver”, highlighting one of InDrive’s unique selling points.
Visuals and voiceovers worked closely together for both approaches. Graphics, captions, and superimposed text put our brand front and centre, with voiceovers cementing what people could see on screen.
Driving home the numbers
The first phase of our rebranding campaign — which ran for two months — was a great success, reaching 120 million people around the world.
We saw a brand awareness lift of 5.6% and 13.4 million lifted users — meaning those people who responded positively to the brand out of those viewers who saw the ads and those who didn’t.
Increased awareness trickled into Google Search, too. We witnessed a 24% increase in click-through-rate (CTR) for generic search campaigns, which account for keyword phrases that don’t include brand or product names. And we saw an 8% increase in CTR for brand search campaigns, which reach people specifically searching for a certain product or category using branded keywords.
Our team is currently measuring the results for the campaign's second phase. We’re excited to see how Middle Eastern markets performed.
Our global rebranding campaign proves that video ads that consider people’s needs, countries, and languages not only make a significant impact on brand awareness, but also encourage people to act. We’ll continue using this more personalised approach for our future ads.