Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series highlighting cause marketing campaigns from around the world called ‘Global Voices’. We hope our team of international contributors will shed insights into cause marketing in their home country and inspire you to expand your own purpose-driven horizons.
In April 2015 Nepal was devastated by a massive earthquake killing more than 8,000 people and leaving more than 19,000 injured. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless across several districts. Several prominent heritage structures were completely destroyed and villages after villages were flattened.
The world sprung into action to help Nepal overcome this crisis. The proximity between India and Nepal saw Indian Government, Indian NGOs and the people of India immediately responding to this crisis. The world poured its heart out on social media in support of Nepal. Nepal was also trending in among the social media users in India. Some new age tech companies decided to leverage the momentum to raise support for Nepal while engaging their customers.
San Francisco based taxi aggregator service provider Uber started a campaign #NepalQuakeRelief allowing its customers across 11 Indian cities to make a donation using its app. Uber promised to match every donation made by its users. Uber announced that the proceeds collected will be donated to India Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Uber launched a similar campaign in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai where unlike in India it choose to donate the proceeds to international NGO Red Cross.
Uber also allowed its users to donate urgent relief material in kind through a special UberAID option on the app. The relief materials were channelled through an NGO partner Goonj. A user could request an UberAID vehicle to come and collect the relief materials from user’s location free of cost.
Uber’s homegrown competitor in India Ola cabs also launched a campaign allowing its customers to donate for Nepal. This campaign was launched just a couple of days after Uber campaign launch. While Ola too collected the donations for Prime Minister’s Relief Fund they did not offer to match the donations. Ola later also announced a partnership with Goonj to collect relief materials for Nepal similar to UberAID.
Both Uber and Ola have not yet announced the amount of funds collected through their respective campaigns.
Competition between two Indian start-ups in the digital wallet space was even fiercer. Paytm announced a campaign asking its users to donate for Nepal using Paytm wallet. Paytm promised to match all donations. Another popular digital wallet Freecharge launched a similar campaign asking its users to give a missed call on a number to trigger a Rs. 20 donation towards Nepal relief. Both Paytm and Freecharge choose to donate the proceeds to India Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
Interestingly Freecharge facebook post announcing the campaign was posted just 54 minutes after that of Paytm. Freecharge closed the campaign in a day committing to donate Rs. 2 million. Paytm closed the campaign after two days announcing a total donation of Rs. 10 million.
It’s quite common to see competing companies fighting it out with matching discounts, offers and deals. Perhaps this is the beginning of a competition of a different kind where one tries to outdo the other in doing good.