The Remarkable Reddit Campaign

Who in the advertising field doesn’t feel inspired by a “think-outside-the-box” campaign that becomes a major success story? You know—one that arrives out of nowhere and results in a “what was that?” reaction from everyone who witnesses it. Well, one brand pulled that feat off, and achieved a major win among this past Sunday’s Super Bowl parade of ads. This brand was Reddit—that social news/web content rating/discussion site symbolized by a smiling martian face on an orange circle.

The rundown of the Reddit ad

In a move not unlike Orson Welles’ famous “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast of Halloween in 1938—where people who tuned in late were under the impression they were listening to an actual newscast covering an invasion from Mars—the Reddit spot began by making Super Bowl audiences think they were watching something else entirely. (Ironic, also in that its logo is a martian!)

  • One second showed two SUVs in a race, leading viewers to think this was a spot for an auto brand.
  • A quick cut to what appeared to be the test pattern for calibration in the early days of broadcast television appeared—but instead of the ABC, CBS, or NBC logo, the smiling martian (whose name is Snoo, by the way) looked out at viewers.
  • Finally, a cut to horses running, finishing the spot.

All of the steps listed above took place in approximately nine seconds. This Reddit spot, which debuted during Super Bowl LV, may go down in the game’s history as the shortest ad to make the biggest impact.

Short run time but long-lasting impression

The ripple effect of the Reddit ad is—and continues to be—ongoing. Every publication from The New York Times to AdAge has commented on the brand’s ingenuity. Additionally, as Amir Vera reported in CNN Business, Reddit essentially competed against Wall Street, which resulted in a price increase for shares of GameStop. Ultimately, Reddit not only won big among other ads that featured state-of-the-art special effects and starred many celebrities, but against the powerhouse of Wall Street. This was indeed a triumph for the books. And, as pointed out above, this was accomplished through an ad that lasted only a matter of seconds.

Challenger brand

Reddit’s feat is a perfect example of a “challenger brand” in action. The “challenger brands” are not leaders in their respective markets but have ambitions that transcend traditional ways and means in making their presence known and bringing change to its particular industry.

While Reddit’s feat is impressive, innovative and inspiring—it is by no means impossible. Any brand—with the right approach, timing, and assets—can make a big splash in getting noticed. This particular ad exemplified a number of principles and practices that we at EGC have followed:

  • Any budget—even one that is cost-conscious—can make a powerful first impact and leave a memorable impression that people will think and talk about for a long time afterward.
  • Once a powerful impression has been made, brand momentum builds and can be capitalized on. Business Insider recently reported that Reddit has just gotten $250 million in funding, thus doubling its value to $6 billion.
  • The turn in recent events—between the ad itself, and its reception—has made Reddit a public relations success story.

Whether or not your business may be classified as a “challenger brand,” EGC can help navigate any potential challenges you may have in standing above and apart from your competitors. And while we might not be able to get you a spot on the Super Bowl, we are confident in helping you gain visibility and the competitive edge through our wide variety of services, which include digital marketing, website development, and public relations, among many others.

Contact us today to learn more.