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Special Project

Special Project
From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

The Lyft Luck Machine

Finalist in Physical & Digital


For incoming college freshmen, the first week at school is a critical time. Students make new friends, form new habits, and begin crafting their identities as adults. Lyft aimed to win the hearts and minds of new college students, and to convince them that Lyft was the transportation choice for students. Knowing our audience and their apathy toward traditional marketing tactics (e.g. tabling and handing out "swag'), we knew we had to gamble on something much bigger.

Strategy and Execution

How can we drum up excitement for students to download the Lyft app and start using it? With an impossibly fun, easy to win, gamified experience. And Lyft credits, of course. We created The Lyft Luck Machine: a custom, larger-than-life pink slot machine – a physical expression of the brand's fun, whimsical nature – that captured the attention of students as they passed by. The catch? The experience only unlocked for students with a Lyft account.

The machine features a massive chrome handle, flashing LEDs, proprietary vending software, custom animations, an oversized 3D-printed coin, and much more.

Our goal was to design a machine big enough to draw attention while still being approachable, on-brand, and gamified to encourage an emotional reaction and high levels of engagement. Naturally, we started by retrofitting a vending machine, as they're already large and designed for transport. From there we added a customized dispensing mechanism, micro-controlled LED lights, a 32-inch display, and plenty of pink paint. We connected everything using logic designed to dispense different prizes at different rates, adding a programmatic thrill to the experience.


A remarkable 20,000 people experienced the Luck Machine in just one week.


Video for The Lyft Luck Machine

Entrant Company / Organization Name

ISL, Lyft


Entry Credits