Everyone by now has at least heard of the growing popularity of the mobile app called Lyft, which utilizes average citizens with clean driving slates as their chauffeurs. The young company has received much attention from smartphone users as it provides fast, reliable, and affordable rides all over the city. It initially mostly relied on word-of-mouth and user invitations for its business to flourish, but it has recently opted to start a bold advertising campaign in light of the growing ride-sharing competition from companies such as Uber and Sidecar, who each have their own versions of the app and are defending their spot in the business. Lyft, whose vehicles are typically identifiable by a fluffy, bright pink mustache attached to the front end, plans on pushing its brand by featuring ads, both online and in the public eye, which introduce some of their most interesting drivers and what they do when they aren’t out giving you rides in their cars. For example, Lyft driver Lara, whose last name is not given, is featured on an advertisement which reveals her talent as a country singer. These ads seem to communicate a message which most Lyft users could relate with, It is simply more appealing to be driven by an interest-worthy individual instead of a monotonous, garden-variety cab driver. But is this message part of an advertising campaign that has gone too far?
Just recently, Governor Quinn vetoed a bill that would impose regulations on ride-sharing companies like Lyft, stating, “I am vetoing this legislation because it would have mandated a one-size-fits-all approach to a service that is best regulated at the local level,” which was much to the chagrin of the Chicago taxi-cab industry responsible for pushing such an ordinance. It is understandable why Lyft is focusing its marketing campaign on its drivers, but it is becoming more and more clear that ride-sharing companies are costing hard-working taxi drivers their jobs. One must take into account that Lyft drivers do not have to fulfill nearly as many screenings or requisites as the traditional, city-approved chauffeurs, and, as the campaign suggests, many of them hold other jobs. For thousands of cab drivers, their only source of income is derived from their transportation services. To be fair, Lyft is an innovative and convenient form of transportation that could help create more jobs for Americans, but will this be at the cost of those who have dedicated most of their lives to transporting the public?
What do you think? Should Lyft take a lighter approach on their marketing campaign, in light of the veto from Governor Quinn? Or is this all just a part of a free market system meant to encourage competition? Is this competition fair?
Heine, C. (2014, August 21). Lyft Hopes to Accelerate With First Integrated Ad Campaign. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/lyft-hopes-accelerate-first-integrated-ad-campaign-159619
Quinn Vetoes State Ride-Sharing Regulations. (2014, August 25). Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/08/25/quinn-vetoes-state-ride-sharing-regulations/