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February 03, 2016


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If I'm stuck in traffic, the first thing that occurs to me is not going to be "Hey, let's read all the billboards!"

@CGHill: I'd hate to see one of Lyft's PowerPoint presentations.

The lengthy message might assume that you are stuck in traffic-- and therefore have time to read it, if you are so inclined. Otherwise, I have no idea what they're thinking.

The bizarre thing is that the Lyft slogans on the Made website are excellent - e.g., "Ride Between the Lines," "The Rest of the Way." How they got from there to a mouthful of drivel is a puzzlement.

@Jessica: And those ads you mention are also on view throughout the Bay Area. I like them, too: They're clear, catchy, distinctive, and brand-appropriate. I have no idea why the company (or the agency? maybe not Made?) thought the manifesto approach was worth the gamble.

I learned a long time ago that outdoor advertising should be like a 10-second commercial (today, more like a 5-second spot.)
To the other valid criticisms, I add "offensive" and "presumptuous"—that the advertiser assumes I would try to to figure out what they're trying to say.
Other than a wasted media budget, it shouldn't do Lyft much harm. From the advertising, I couldn't tell who they are or what they're selling.

@Dan: I suppose Lyft imagines that it's "disrupting" outdoor advertising by using long, rambling, incomprehensible copy.

Not great copy, I agree. But you did make it worse by quoting it as 'it seems like there’s not way out' when the billboard does say 'no way out'. Tut tut.

Good site though.

Paul: Transcription typo -- fixed!

However.... It would seem that a lot of people saw the Lyft logo at the bottom and looked it up to see what all the drivel said... It even got someone to write an entire article about it. Maybe they did succeed after all?

Michael: A lot of people? Hard to say. I looked at it because a) looking at advertising is what I do, and b) I thought it might be a lunatic rant from some fringe political candidate, and that sort of thing can provide fleeting amusement. I couldn't discern the Lyft logo until I got out of the car and stood directly beneath the sign.

Nancy — I came to your site because I googled Lyft was never supposed to happen. I passed one of these on El Camino Real in Daly City driving at 40 MPH. I only got a glimpse of "Lyft was never supposed to happen." I thought they were apologizing for a driver having murdered a passenger or some other service failure.

What a terrible terrible campaign.

And "Ride Between the Lines" is so clever!!!

There's a "These Things Used to Work Pretty Good" billboard by the FDR drive in Manhattan now as well. I drove by it twice and of course had no way to read the text.

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