Late last week Lyft unveiled its latest celebrity driver stunt—this time with Will Smith—as a marketing partnership with Sony to promote Bad Boys for Life. Smith rolled into Miami in a shiny new Porsche Taycan to surprise Lyft drivers and give them a tutorial in the Bad Boys lifestyle.
It must’ve worked, seeing as the video has more than a million views on Smith’s YouTube channel alone, and Bad Boys for Life dominated the weekend box office.
Aside from the obvious universal charm of Smith, and his ability to be down-to-earth despite being one of the world’s biggest superstars for upwards of three decades, the most surprising part of this is how the celebrity driver stunt format has remained popular for this long.
Lyft has been tapping into this genre since at least 2016, and the brand’s relationship with celebrities has been a key part of its brand building. We’ve had Chance the Rapper, DJ Khaled, Shaq, Odell Beckham Jr., Taraji P. Henson . . . and hell, Kevin Hart had a whole web series about it.
It’s impressive that it’s lasted this long, but is there a risk of the celebrity driver becoming a stale expectation for Lyft? Or perhaps, given the variety of fan reactions, it can live on in perpetuity like a 21st Century Candid Camera, or how America’s Funniest Home Videos milked decades of laughs out of kids accidentally finding new ways to hit their dads in the family jewels.
Either way, it’s clear Lyft intends to keep trying to use pop culture as a crucial cog in its quest for profitability.