Lyft helps Vancouverites remember how to act in public

After the pandemic disrupted its launch in the city, the ridesharing service is hoping to seize a moment to reintroduce itself.


After the pandemic disrupted its initial launch in the Vancouver market, Lyft is looking to reintroduce itself by giving locals a tutorial on how to reintroduce themselves into social situations.

Lyft got its license to operate its ridesharing service in Vancouver in January 2020, when the city made app-based ridesharing legal. But the service operated for just seven weeks before the pandemic hit, according to Peter Lukomskyj, head of growth markets and general manager for B.C. at Lyft.

While the service tried to build its brand, recruit drivers and engage with riders during those seven weeks, “it just came crashing to a halt” once COVID-19 hit and people limited socializing and left the home less often, he says.

But now that vaccination rates are climbing and people are starting to come back out of lockdowns, the service has seen an opportunity in the Vancouver market.

“This is really the moment for us to differentiate the brand. There’s been a lull in the adoption of rideshare in Vancouver throughout the pandemic, even though it launched just before. People still haven’t really figured out what rideshare is,” explains Lukomskyj. “This is our moment to really connect with Vancouverites for the first real time.”

To do so, Lyft is striking a tongue-in-cheek tone through a campaign developed by its in-house creative team, led by the company’s creative director, Karin Onsager-Birch.

“Going into Vancouver, it was so important that we developed the campaign to celebrate the local sense of community so that Vancouverites could connect with what the zeitgeist was there at the moment,” she explains. “People are just desperate to go out, they haven’t been to their favourite spots in forever.”

Lyft_HTHA Vancouver_OOH 3Using hyperlocal OOH, the campaign aims to remind Vancouverites about all of the destinations they’ve missed during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, through a series of tongue-in-cheek, tutorial-style spots, Lyft spotlights the different situations Vancouverites might find themselves in as the lockdown lifts and they can get out and safely be social once again. It taps into “these funny awkwardnesses that are really charming and that people can relate to,” such as rediscovering how to greet a stranger, or remembering to plan for the commute into work.

That lightheartedness and positivity was something Lyft wanted to bring to Vancouver, Lukomskyj said, as “something to set the foundation for our continued relationship with both riders and drivers” in the market.

The campaign will run through August 8th in the Vancouver market, across social, online video, display, connected TV, digital OOH, and through the brand’s owned channels. Citizen Relations handled the PR.