Have you heard about the ‘anti-influencer influencer’ trend that’s taking the advertising world by storm? It’s all thanks to Reddit, the online discussion directory that’s been keeping forum culture alive since 2005. With over 57 million daily active users, Reddit has become a hub for niche communities, from personal finance to funny cat videos. And now, advertisers are starting to take notice.
Coral Cripps had the chance to catch up with Alex Underwood, Reddit’s global head of agency development, to chat about the unique perks of Reddit culture and his quest to deepen advertisers’ understanding of the platform.
One of the key focuses for Underwood has been to educate more advertisers about the platform and its mechanics, but to do so in a way that truly reflects Reddit’s unique culture. “It’s about reframing real people, real moments and real conversation to contextual relevance – that value proposition and understanding. But the way we’re trying to do it is in a unique ‘Reddit-y’ way,” he explains.
In the past, Reddit was mainly associated with technology-focused communities, but now it has expanded to cover a wider range of topics, including popular culture. However, there is still a perception among some agencies that Reddit is a tech-heavy platform. Underwood hopes to change this by offering workshops that help agencies navigate the consumer experience on Reddit.
To create these workshops, Underwood’s team has studied the Reddit user experience and offered participating agencies a survey to share their passions and interests, “because fundamentally, that’s what Reddit is”. By identifying common attributes across communities, his team hopes to help agencies gain insights for planning.
One unique aspect of Reddit culture is the creation of acronyms and language within different communities. Underwood has modeled his programme around this feature to ensure clients have the opportunity to participate. For example, his workshop includes “TIL” (short for “today I learned”) and “ELIN” (“Explain like I’m new”), both fashioned after popular subreddits of the same name.
From an advertising perspective, one of the standout attributes of Reddit culture is its ability to create viral moments. Tiffany Rolfe, global chief creative officer and chair at R/GA, points to the agency’s “Superb owl” campaign, which aired during the 2021 Super Bowl. The campaign was launched after the r/WallStreetBets subreddit triggered a short squeeze on GameStop shares, putting Reddit in the spotlight.
The “Superb owl” creative played on the idea that Reddit was “hacking” the Super Bowl in the same way its users had disrupted the stock market. After garnering six billion impressions, the campaign went on to win the 2021 Social & Influencer Lions Grand Prix.
Reddit’s unique culture has its pros and cons for advertisers, but with the right approach, it can be a valuable platform for reaching engaged audiences. Underwood’s mission is to help more advertisers understand and appreciate what Reddit has to offer, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they come up with next.