Marketing for the burgeoning ride-hailing industry has a dual aim: Attract riders and drivers. Because if that balance gets out of whack, the business model falls apart. With a digital video debuting today, Lyft is reaching out to both drivers and riders as it seeks to position itself as a company that brings the two communities together. The charming, animated short that tells the story of a lonely widow who becomes a Lyft driver and is ultimately helped out by Lyft riders after she gets into some road trouble on the wintry streets of Chicago.
The marketer is screening the film, called "June," at "pink carpet" events today in Los Angeles and Chicago in celebration of "Lyft Driver Appreciation Day," during which it will also be matching passengers' tips to its drivers for up to $20 total.
The video was directed by Academy Award-winning director John Kahrs, who earned an Oscar in 2012 for his short "Paperman." He's also a Pixar and Disney vet who's worked on blockbuster animated features including "Frozen," "Tangled," "Wreck-It Ralph," "Ratatouille" and "The Incredibles."
The film also features scoring by composer Christophe Beck ("Frozen," "The Hangover"), and Mr. Kahrs co-wrote it with Lyft Creative Director Ricardo Viramontes, who while at CAA Marketing worked on another big branded animation -- Chipotle's award-winning "Back to the Start."
"'June' connects communities by blurring lines between riders and drivers and highlighting that we are all one in the same," Mr. Viramontes said in a statement. "This film was inspired by the Lyft drivers and passengers who make it more than just a ride, and as John Kahrs and I read through countless stories, we realized there was a strong common theme of people coming together through the Lyft experience."
The video features the original song, "Moving," that was written by a former Lyft driver known as Sir the Baptist. Stated Lyft: "In pursuit of his dreams, Sir the Baptist served Chicago's Lyft community as a driver for more than two years. While earning income on his own schedule, the rapper established professional connections and drew inspiration for many of his songs from interactions with his passengers."