Uber and Lyft  have taken the transportation ride sharing market by storm since their respective launches. Ride sharing is a new form of transportation where riders are picked up in somebody else’s personal vehicle and chauffeured to their destination. Companies like Uber and Lyft use satellite technology in smart phones to coordinate pick-up and drop-off locations as well as automatic payment services. Ridesharing, although a hugely revolutionary service, did not make it on the home screens of millions of iPhones overnight. Through these companies’ clever marketing campaigns and willingness to give out free rides from referrals, they are on their way to changing how we move about our environment today.

At first, the public was lukewarm about using a service that allowed a stranger to drive them somewhere in their personal car. Cabs seemed to be a safer and better regulated alternative. That is why Uber recently launched its “Get There with Uber” campaign in London. Their promotion strategy shared the personal stories of their drivers and riders in order to better humanize their services. By using billboards and radio advertisements to tell these stories, they helped remove some of the anonymity associated with ride sharing to make their drivers and riders feel more comfortable.

Get There With Uber Advertisement http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/uber-tells-story-drivers-riders-first-major-uk-ad-campaign/1397411

“Get There With Uber” Advertisement

Another marketing strategy Uber has utilized is a bit more hands on, to say the least. Don’t be surprised if while you’re waiting for a bus in Chicago you happen upon an advertisement right on the physical bus shelter! This campaign advertises UberPool, one of Uber’s newest services. UberPool pairs riders up with other travelers that are heading in the same direction. Uber says that its new service is up to 50% cheaper than normal UberX rates.  They advertise that Pool rides start at $2.25, coincidentally the same price that public transportation trips cost in Chicago. Advertising directly on bus shelters gives Uber access to its target market and appeals to them when they are most vulnerable to make a change, while waiting.

Meanwhile, Lyft, Uber’s biggest competitor, feverishly campaigns its services too. In April 2016 Lyft aired its first national television advertisement. It depicted drivers caught up in a “circus” of traffic; bogged down by tickets, parking boots and police checkpoints. Luckily, the actress escapes this mayhem and finds her Lyft driver in seconds. The video closes with the phrase, “Riding is the new Driving.” This TV promotion appeals to the barriers associated with driving and shows how easy it is to instead take out a phone and hail a personal driver.

While the convenience of ride sharing services is unparalleled, the environmental benefits are less clear. UberPool, and Lyft’s equivalent “LyftLine,” undoubtedly remove some automobiles from our congested streets but they don’t fix the problem at its core. Cars are still on the street, emitting more CO2 emissions than alternative modes of transportation. Due to Uber and Lyft’s recent campaigns that attempt to undercut public transit’s ridership with affordable prices and convenience, the future is up in the air for the transportation industry. In the meantime, explore an alternative to a personal car with LyftLine, “The one line that goes everywhere, all for the cool price of your morning latte.”

By: Jonathan Keiles