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Lyft needles Uber with space analogy and stars

Commentary: In a new ad, Lyft gets Tilda Swinton and Jordan Peele to explain that the company you choose matters.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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She wants you to ride on the right side.

Lyft/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Lyft is determined to be seen as the ridesharing company that's holier than thou. Well, holier than Uber, at least.

With its bigger and somewhat less likable rival dealing with yet more controversy at the board level, Lyft has released the second ad in a campaign that doesn't mention Uber, but clearly aims for it.

In the first ad, we saw Jeff Bridges -- the 1836 version -- insisting that it matters whom you ride with.

This time, we have Tilda Swinton and Jordan Peele orbiting the moon in 1971. It's all a little serious, in a dryly comic way.

"Without drivers, there is no moon landing, no giant leap for mankind," explains Peele. 

Well, there's also no car accidents, traffic jams and road rage. Isn't this a slight stretch? Not for Lyft, it seems. 

Swinton offers her own posh-voiced depth. "If you choose to ride with the right people, who do things for the right reasons, you'll always end up in the right place," she says.

Oddly, I've been in both Ubers and Lyfts and both companies' drivers seem to have acceptable grasp of GPS. But I suppose she's floating in the moral dimension.

Still, by embracing history Lyft seems to hope you'll believe its more friendly ethos will prove to be on the right side of it. 

Uber didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

It's not easy, though, for Uber to currently project anything, given its internal turmoil. The company's first chief brand officer, former Apple Music executive Bozoma Saint John, admitted last month that there's a lot to do. One problem, of course, is deciding where to start. 

Saint John says she's working on "humanizing" Uber. With the company's penchant for constant scandal, history suggests she's in for a very bumpy ride.

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