Lyft’s New Device Aims to Increase Safety and Eliminate Awkwardness With Drivers

Plus, 4 playful new ads

Do you even Lyft, bro?

Lyft, a ride-sharing service, is shaking things up in a major way. The young company, which was launched in 2012, has already gone through a few identity iterations.

The most recent one is sort of a cool-older-sibling vibe. Today, the brand announced a new part of it's in-car experience: the Amp. What looks like one of those fancy Bluetooth speakers everyone has at pool parties is actually a cool new way for drivers to communicate with riders.

By day, the Amps will be the signature Lyft pink/magenta color. But when it's pulling up to a Lyft user who has ordered a ride, the display will turn green, thereby eliminating the awkward moments that plague a lot of ride-share app users.

Bonus feature: if multiple people in a specific area all order a Lyft, their cars will each display a different color, as specified in their app.

"We've seen three times our typical growth in the last 18 months," said Melissa Waters, Lyft's vp of marketing. "And we want to expand as we grow."

Getting into someone else's car means agreeing on a shared assumption of safety. With ride-sharing apps, it can feel risky to put your life, and credit card information, into someone else's hands. The Amp seems to be a "mature step in our identity," said Waters.

"The Amp provides a two-prong approach: it extends our branding into the car in an interactive way while also solving a consumer need and pain point," said Waters. "We listened to our riders and drivers, and we know that we provide a better experience."

While it does provide new methods of delivering messaging to users, there aren't any current plans to sell the Amp space to advertisers, for now.

The announcement of the new Amp in-car devices also comes with the launch of four new spots that will highlight the "friendliness, safety and efficiency of Lyft's service while giving a playful wink to the ride-share industry's competitive landscape," according to the company's press release.

"We're changing with the market by adding this personal experience element," she said.

The new ads also commonly feature female drivers as well as passengers sitting in (gasp!) the front seat of the car. Lyft, from its beginning, has tried to be the friendliest ride-sharing app in the business.

"Friendly service is at the foundation of how we gained this much popularity," said Waters.

Perhaps another level of connection between strangers is just what brands need right now.