Lyft wants its ‘share’ of Vancouver market

The ride-hailing app leans into local references to build awareness and get a leg up on the competition ahead of its launch.


Lyft has launched a campaign targeting residents of the Metro Vancouver after riding sharing was officially approved by the city earlier this month.

In the new campaign deployed today, Lyft highlights locals’ points of pride and references barriers residents have faced when getting a ride. In one ad, it uses the 60s novelty hit “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” to draw ironic attention to the city’s often miserable weather, while another features Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom. Another urge viewers to “Vancouver your face off,” while ex-Dragons’ Den panelist and celebrity chef Vikram Vij looks on, a message that’s repeated in a spot where a local goes to various restaurants in town, tasting the spiciest food the city has to offer. 

Whitney Bell, senior manager of regional marketing for Lyft in Canada and East USA, tells strategy that Metro Vancouverites have a lot of pride for their city, so the brand wanted to make sure it highlighted its unique character with references that evoke the local lifestyle. Billboards and ads across Metro Vancouver will feature Vancouver landmarks and locations, and Lyft’s local partners, including Grouse Mountain and the Vancouver Canucks. It’s a similar approach the brand took in Toronto shortly after it launched there.

As a brand, Bell says, Lyft has a lot of the same values as Metro Vancouverites – inclusivity, diversity, sustainability and community.

“We want to make Metro Vancouver more livable for all, so our audience really reflects that,” Bell says of the target. As the service has yet to officially launch in the city, Lyft is looking to raise awareness not just among would-be riders, but drivers as well. Earlier this month, Vancouver became the first municipality in British Columbia to approve regulations around ride-hailing apps, though company has cited “government roadblocks” for the app’s delayed rollout, which is now expected to happen around Christmas.


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Until it officially launches, Lyft is in awareness-driving mode. When it comes to differentiating itself against competitors like Uber that will also likely be entering the region soon now that ridesharing has been approved, Bell says it is doing so not only through its creative, but also through community investments such as its partnership with as the “Official Rideshare Partner” of organizations like Vancouver Canucks and Vancouver Pride Society.

In 2020, Lyft is also kicking off its exclusive rideshare partnerships with Grouse Mountain and the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). At Grouse, the partnership includes a designated Lyft pickup and drop-off spot at the base of the mountain, activations throughout the year, social amplification and boutique discounts. At the PNE, Lyft will have two designated pickup and drop-off spots, venue art, signage, and wayfinding. 

McGarrah Jessee handled the creative. Bell says the Austin, Texas-based agency brought to life its “That’s Y” creative in local markets when Lyft went public earlier this year. 

In December, Lyft launched its 2019 brand campaign, putting the focus on the freedom that comes with using the service instead of driving yourself.