- Lyft this week is launching an ad campaign depicting the learning curve people may face when re-entering the world as vaccinations spur an uptick for in-person activities, a company executive said in an interview with Marketing Dive. Spots ranging from six to 30 seconds depict riders en route to an overdue haircut, running late for an in-person meeting and fumbling for words when interacting with a driver.
- "How to Human" will run across social media as well as on TV and out-of-home in some markets. The duration of the campaign is flexible depending on consumer sentiment and local restrictions, but is estimated to run through the holidays, according to Lyft's Vice President of Creative Karin Onsager-Birch.
- The campaign coincides with new Lyft data comparing ridership habits in April 2021 with April 2020. While not back to pre-pandemic levels, the percentage of rides whose destinations are bars, restaurants or gyms was up last month compared with a year ago. The share of rides with travel-related destinations, such as airports, is significantly higher than last year, per the company's data.
While the coronavirus pandemic is still far from over around the world, Lyft's data shows people in the U.S. are returning to some activities that plunged last year amid the heat of the health crisis.
The creative concept behind Lyft's new campaign stems from the category of "how to" videos that are popular on YouTube, per Onsager-Birch. "How to Human" arrives after an effort from March, when Tinder announced it would team with Lyft to help their shared audiences gift a Lyft ride to a date in an effort to help consumers return to socializing and dating. Now, the ride-hailing app is leveraging the feelings of consumers who may be out of practice with day-to-day activities like greeting a Lyft driver.
"What we're tapping into is that human insight of feeling a little awkward about what's normal," Onsager-Birch said.
Extending that format of quirky instructional series, Lyft is laying the groundwork for a broader creative platform that it plans to build upon over the next six months, with a "How to Summer" activation in the works, per Onsager-Birch.
But before the "How to Human" effort kicked off in the U.S. this month, the Lyft team had to pay special attention to government restrictions and social listening in each market. Determining the timing to launch the campaign was tricky because it required balancing each region's local safety restrictions with the short window in which the messaging is still relevant among consumers who may feel uneasy about emerging from their homes.
"We have to play it by ear and be flexible. We have to travel at the speed of culture," Onsager-Birch said.
The campaign in Vancouver, Canada, will begin in the coming months once vaccinations ramp up and a greater number of consumers return to pre-pandemic activities.
Lyft's latest marketing campaign arrives two weeks after first-quarter earnings were released, indicating continued signs of pandemic recovery as restrictions ease and consumers grow more comfortable returning to work and travel. The company said in mid-March it expects to post positive ride-hailing growth year-over-year every week through the end of 2021, barring a significant worsening of COVID-19 and state restrictions.
Last week, Lyft and Uber reached an agreement with the White House to give free rides to vaccine sites through July 4, further deepening Lyft's engagement with consumers as they resume in-person activities like ride-hailing.