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Friday, May 30, 2014

Uber and Lyft Cannibalizing Each Other in New Ad Campaigns

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 2:06 PM

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Embattled taxi drivers, crusading public safety advocates, and a vigorous insurance lobby aren't the only things that Uber and Lyft have to worry about, as they battle for car-hire market supremacy.

Now, apparently, they're also trying to cannibalize each other.

Today a slew of tech blogs marveled at the new ad campaigns from these companies, which indicate, in no uncertain terms, that they're trying to poach each other's drivers. (You can read about it here, here, and here.) Uber recently debuted a "Shave the stache" ad with a razor whittling into Lyft's famous pink logo. Lyft, meanwhile, chose the seemingly more oblique slogan "Be more than just a number."

Ironically, many of these ads are appearing on the sides of buses and trailer trucks, which, perhaps, befits the start-ups' pattern of commandeering space from other swaths of the transit industry.

But last year, they were using that tactic to filch the labor force of an already sagging taxi industry. Now that taxis are all but eviscerated (with SFMTA cutting the price of medallions in half, and local companies hemorrhaging up $30,000 a month), they've set their sights closer to home.

In January, Uber pulled a now-infamous ride-ditch hoax on the Israeli start-up Gett, requesting rides via the Gett app and canceling them after the drivers had been dispatched. Its assault against Lyft has been cleaner, if equally cutting.

Recent Facebook ads from the company offered $500 up front, and $45 an hour, to anyone driver willing to switch from Lyft to UberX. Lyft shot back with a series of roving billboards offering $500 to any rogue Uber driver willing to make the switch.

Evidently, enticement is bloodsport.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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