Ride-Sharing Service Lyft Takes Off With New Agency, Ad Campaign

Ride-sharing service Lyft has named SF Collective its first agency of record, following a review.

And the agency is launching Lyft's first-ever multi-channel branding campaign titled "More than a Ride" in two cities: Denver and San Diego. The cities were selected based on the size of markets coupled with both being passionate sports fan communities.

"Since the beginning of 2014, Lyft has gone from 20 cities to more than 65, and we continue to hear inspiring stories about how people are connecting during these rides," says Jesse McMillin, Creative Director at Lyft. "With this campaign, we wanted to showcase some of the unique personalities that passengers may encounter, while illustrating that the Lyft experience is more than just a ride - it's the opportunity to connect with someone new in your community." 

The ads feature real-life Lyft drivers to tell prospective Lyft customers more about them, provide insights into the people who will drive them, encourage prospects to meet new people and use the service. The strategy aims to tamper down prospective customers' concerns about being a passenger in a stranger's car by showing what these drivers do when they aren't driving, including being a firefighter, an Olympic gold medalist swimmer, a country music singer and a pastry chef.

Digital ads also feature instructional copy to educate people on how to download the app to their smartphones. 

SF Collective handled the media buy and devised a strategy "to get the biggest bang-for-its-buck." To that end, the agency purchased inventory on premium digital sites, Eater, Spotify, Vice, Thrillist and Huffington Post.

The agency is also utilizing geo-targeting, so that website visitors in San Diego and Denver will be served Lyft ads. These buys are also age-filtered, targeting those age groups that would be most likely to have an interest in the service. At the same time, digital ads are published to specific regional sites, such as Eater SD, Eater Denver, WestWord.com (Denver), and SDReaders.com. Other elements of the campaign include out-of-home messages running across billboards and bus and trolley lines, as well as table tents at select bars and restaurants. 

This campaign also features special integrated partnerships with San Diego's Petco Park and Denver's Coors Field ballparks. In addition to stadium advertising, Lyft kiosks are installed in the stadiums and attendees will receive Lyft gift certificates under the seats. Throughout select games, announcers are giving away wearable versions of Lyft's signature mustache that adorns its vehicles. 

Looking forward, Lyft will track the results of these two markets to guide to its approach in other markets in the future.

SF Collective is a new agency led by Alex Lyman, formerly VP/Creative Director at Publicis Hal Riney. Launched in March 2014, SF Collective's model is to provide clients with a core team of creative, strategy and media people, assembling custom teams of experts in specific areas as needed. Other clients include Specialized Bikes and GMC (Sierra truck), the latter in collaboration with Leo Burnett.

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