Bud, Lyft and the Designated Driver: Are We All On The Same Page?

You have to hand it to Budweiser. They know how to talk to their fan base. One of our nation’s top beer brands, Bud doesn’t’ pretend to be anything but your basic good-time brew. If 20 percent of people buy 80 percent of the beer, they’re out to keep that vital top 20 percent of the market. And that means keeping it alive as well.

In addition to making beer that’s not for the grapefruit-coffee-smoked-porter crowd, Budweiser has devoted some perfectly good profits to its anti-drunk driving messages, including some notable Super Bowl PSAs.

Now the beer giant has partnered with rideshare company Lyft to help its legions of drinkers get home safely.  From now until the end of the year, passengers 21 or older can get a free ride (up to $10) on weekends and holidays in Florida, New York, Illinois and Colorado. Here’s Bud’s take on the deal, part of their #GiveADamn campaign:

Nothing wrong there. Bud says they care about making suds and keeping customers breathing. And Lyft is planning on giving away 5,000 free rides each week in four states. The stated goal is to make a dent in the 10,000 alcohol-related road fatalities that the country sees each year.

Bud’s position is simple and transparent – more or less like their beer. Lyft’s statement is, perhaps, a bit more puzzling. The company blog notes that “everyone deserves a designated driver, even if you’re on a tight budget.”

Well, no. Grammar aside, you don’t have a designated driver because you deserve one. A designated driver is not a lunch break or a birthday mani-pedi. It’s an absolute necessity if you’re out drinking. Positioning a DD as a reward or perk does not do the cause any favors. Maybe, during the partnership, some of Budweiser’s gift for straight talk will rub off on Lyft.