Is this Lyft video a short story pretending to be a commercial, or a commercial pretending to be a short story?

Neither. It’s an explainer video.

You might miss it because this animated vid is no ABC, look-and-learn piece of marketing content. For one thing, there’s no in-your-face branding. For another, there’s no urgent call to action. It’s just a charming story about a little old lady who gets a new lease on life. Nothing special. (Lies.)

Here’s why we’re impressed.

  • It’s delightful: End-to-end, the animation style is clean, bright and playful, with art-led character design and beautiful lines elevating the production value.
  • It hits you right in the feels: The long story is that there’s a proper narrative arc, thoughtful character development, jeopardy, and a touching ending that focuses on community spirit and solidarity. The short story: it’s emotive and heart-warming…with a small shot of patriotism thrown in for good measure. Here, grab a tissue.
  • It stays on (sound) track: The audio is masterfully conducted.  It sets the pace throughout with a  stylish, jazz and hip hop-influenced soundtrack interspersed with plenty of quieter moments, and the barest minimum dialogue; just enough to ground the story in the real world.
  • It’s got June: We Love June. It’s easy to root for the film’s central character. The company messaging and ethos shines through.
  • It’s clever, oh so clever. Do we see the product over and over? Yes, we do. Do we see exactly how easy it is to use Lyft, both passengers and drivers?  Yup.  Are we shown that Lyft is safe? Oh look, you simply check the ID on the app before getting into the car.
  • When more is more: This animated short is miles ahead of similarly ambitious video ads. It rolls effortlessly for more than 7 minutes (who does that!) …and every minute is worth the watch.