What Happens When NBA Legend, His Shaqness, Goes Undercover With Lyft?!

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Started just four years ago in San Francisco, the ridesharing network, Lyft, has grown rapidly and is already available in more than 200 cities across the United States.  Though it’s still tiny when compared with Uber, its leading rideshare competitor, Lyft appears intent on expansion.  It recently announced a driverless car partnership with General Motors and has also launched its first TV ad campaign.

The TV ad features, among other things, a guy driving with a booted wheel, a clown, a zebra and a group of young friends trying to convince a cop that they’re fit to drive.  But wackiest of all Lyft’s promotional ideas may have been the decision to recruit NBA legend, Shaquille O’Neal as a temporary driver.

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The Lyft team wanted to film reactions as Shaq spent a day driving a number of passengers to their destinations around Atlanta…

Shaq on the other hand, just wanted to practice all his best accents – we see him pretend to be Mexican, Brazilian and Jamaican; singing, rapping and telling implausible stories…

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Lyft drivers are not necessarily professionals in the sense that driving is their main source of income, and they have to have their own vehicles, but while for some customers not knowing exactly what kind of person or vehicle is going to show up may perhaps be part of Lyft’s appeal,   it can surely have occurred to few that their driver might be Shaq.

Lyft vehicles were originally identified and branded by a 3 feet wide, lurid pink, fur mustache worn on the front grille, but these were replaced in 2015 by a more discreet, though still pink, so-called “glowstache” mascot inside the car, perhaps as part of a bid to appeal more to the business and professional customers who have tended to favor Uber.

But despite its desire to expand and compete with Uber, the Shaq video demonstrates that Lyft is still also determined to be seen as a quirky, unconventional and community friendly brand.  Drivers are encouraged to engage positively with passengers, who are welcome to sit in the front seat (not so easy if Shaq’s your driver) and chat.  It’s also fine to sit in the back and fire up your laptop, but it’s in the drivers’ interests to engage as, unlike Uber, the Lyft app allows for tipping at the customer’s discretion.Photo Credit: Infotainment Focus Channel on Youtube

Getting started as a passenger with Lyft is as simple as downloading the free app to your phone.  The app will match your journey requirements with a local driver and you could be on your way in a matter of minutes – though timing and pricing will obviously vary according to the time of day and traffic conditions.

The app also offers you the option to book Lyft Plus or Lyft Line.  Lyft Plus offers a 6 person vehicle – a great way to save some money if you’re heading into town with friends, or if you don’t mind sharing with strangers.  If you need a regularly scheduled ride and don’t mind sharing with others heading the same way, you can also save up to 60% by signing up for Lyft Line, though this is not yet available in all cities.

Happily Shaq’s disguises did not include a pink mustache, but it’s probably safe to say that not many of Lyft’s drivers are over 7 feet tall and weighing in at 340 pounds plus.  So were his ingenious range of wigs and fake beards good enough to hide his true identity from curious passengers?  Find out here ….

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My name is Nick and I love sports. I went to school for sports writing and I have loved sports for as long as I can remember.
I've always loved competition. There is no more pure way to measure the meddle of skilled competitors than on the playing field of the sports at which they love most.
From NCAA football to the NFL Pro Bowl, I love football! But that's not where my love for sports ends. I competed for my schools Lacrosse team during my time in college and even spent some time coaching during the time spent attaining my masters in sports journalism.
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