brands on reddit: 2013
so case study
“Well, I don’t know if brands should
be more like Bill Murray, but there’s
no question they should suck less.
Ads aren’t bad in
themselves. It’s just
We all have to go to the store,
we all have to have groceries, but
there’s a way to sell
you things to make the
exchange more of a
- Bill Murray, reddit AMA 1/17/2014
On Making Ads Suck Less
The year was 2012.
reddit is an advertising wasteland.”
(actual quote from an agency executive)
Brands are scared,
confused, and uninterested.
“In a world of social media behemoths
They seek Performance.
They crave Engagement.
reddit holds the key.
They wait for a sign…a signal…a prophecy?
But the brands.
They do not come.
“And then the one they call Nicholas bellowed
let 2013 be the year that the power of reddit is revealed to brands.”
- Book of Nicolites 2:14
reddit was Denny’s #1 traffic driver during this multi-platform paid campaign.
This ranks as the 2nd highest traffic driver EVER to the Denny's Tumblr page.
National Pancake Week! The week when the major pancake players bring their best to the table. Denny’s approached reddit to help
drive traffic to their corporate Tumblr page, which coincidentally was filled with whacky pancake related animated gifs. The best way
to get Denny’s in front of the most eyeballs in a short period of time was with cleverly-worded sponsored headlines that lived solely
on the front page of reddit (which sees 50-70 million impressions daily). Although it was a short campaign with limited budget,
reddit exceeded expectations and was a major force for the campaign’s success. Because of their progressive thinking Denny’s
became reddit’s first QSR brand and a benchmark for all future campaigns.
Overall you might say it was a “Grand Slam”!
To promote the new Nissan Versa as the first car ever to be sold on Amazon, Nissan USA utilized a reddit Sponsored Headline to
ask the question, “If you could buy anything on Amazon, what would it be?”. Comments came flooding in at a rate faster than
anyone could have expected, ranging from serious (new boots, beanbag chair) to ridiculous (4500 ladybugs, horse mask). Then
Nissan took smart marketing a step further. They actually went through the comments and started buying users the gifts they
mentioned. That Nissan thought of reddit for this clever campaign was cool enough. That they took the time to understand the
platform, its users, and what to expect were another thing altogether. Nissan was one of the first brands to figure out what other
brands are figuring out everyday. That reddit, despite being different than what they’re used to, holds a far greater reward than
you can achieve anywhere else on the internet. The sooner brands learn this, the sooner they can succeed on reddit.
“Within hours of topping the front page, the story of our Nissan/Amazon partnership showed up
across more than 150 articles in 30 countries. Our work with reddit hopefully points to a future where
we can create marketing that is truly in the language of the community and site it is on - and have a
blast doing it” – Kyle Luhr and Jason Clement, Sr. Digital Strategist and Exec. Director, TBWA
“Nissan Buys Gifts for
redditors – and Some Love
for Itself” – Digiday
“Why Nissan Bought
Someone 4,500 Ladybugs”
– Business Insider
Navigates Social Promo
on reddit” – brandchannel
When’s the last time you heard a car company that loved traffic? Web traffic.
Finance and Life Insurance could never thrive on reddit, right? Wrong. Transamerica is fortunate to have very clever employees
responsible for their social media strategy and it showed with the reddit component of their campaign. The Unitas Challenge, a
college football pick’em competition, was the brands first foray onto reddit and responded with some pretty promising results.
Utilizing a one day Homepage Roadblock and two weeks of Sponsored Headlines, Transamerica branded seamlessly for their
competition and built awareness with redditors who otherwise may not have been exposed to them. We’ve even heard a rumor
that the person in charge of this campaign was promoted and given larger budgets for thinking outside the box.
One campaign = 3 wins. Transamerica, reddit, and the guy that said “Let’s try reddit.”.
“Not only was reddit the #1 source of entries to the contest, but it drove
more traffic to this contest than all of our other social networks combined.
- Director, Social Media Strategy, Transamerica
Transamerica is an insurance company that gets it. And they know how to handle acclaim!
In fact, 9 out of 10 brands report that
after advertising on reddit they feel something like this:
“Personally, it has been my favorite marketing campaign to date and has
set the benchmark for campaign engagement going forward.”
- Jacqueline Sandberg, Innovation Cavalry, The Economist
The Economist brand is constantly searching for innovative ways to build brand loyalty. And so when The Economist wanted to
engage reddit users directly on their own turf, it was a no-brainer. The question was: how would redditors respond? The answer?
Awesomely. Redditors were amazingly active in the comment thread of the first part of their campaign, providing well over 200
answers to the question “What would you brand with The Economist logo?”. And not an obscene comment to be had. In fact,
every answer was thoughtful, poignant, and relevant. The second leg was just as successful. The Economist sent pre-stamped post
cards to users to redeem for reddit gold and was able to reach a brand new frontier of new potential subscribers. Brands are
always talking the talk about how important engagement is to their campaigns. The Economist just walked the walk.
The Economist wasn’t sure they could “connect” with reddit. But the reception was amazing!
When reddit user frigidcoke ordered a Tom Brady Fathead, you can imagine his surprise when he received a Tim Tebow one in its
place. After posting this experience to /r/NFL, it quickly became the #1 post and something of an overnight internet phenomenon.
Enter Fathead’s PR team. Realizing the event happened on reddit, the team intended to finish it on reddit. They not only sent the
disappointed user their complete collection of Tom Brady Fatheads, but also placed an ad in the NFL subreddit responding to the
situation. Users in the comment thread were quick to decry this as a set-up or a pre-planned corporate trick, so Fathead created
their own user account and quickly diffused the situation with a completely transparent and self deprecating tone. Not only did this
clever campaign resonate with reddit users, but numerous publications reported on this as a perfect example of in-touch crisis
“I’m amazed by the influence and power of redditors. Acceptance on
reddit was like being invited to eat lunch with the cool kids.”
- Jake Mahoney, Director of Media and Advertising, Fathead
Crisis Into Opportunity”
“The Fathead PR Crisis
Transformed by reddit”
– Spin Sucks
“Has Your Brand Crisis Gone Viral?
Follow Fathead’s Example”
Kudos Fathead, way to handle a “Tebow-verload”!
“The response we received was everything we could have asked for and more.”
Being the first to market in any industry can be a risky proposition, so when Maker's Mark and reddit embarked on a campaign
for the platform's first-ever alcohol brand, we wanted to make sure it was done right. Working together on a Homepage
Roadblock, it was important for Maker's to keep their ads on-brand while also tipping their caps to the reddit audience. We
ended up adding the phrase "Let it Snoo" to their creative, a clever take on the holiday song, "Let it Snow" and the reddit alien,
Snoo. The results were staggering. The Maker's Mark roadblock was the most successful brand roadblock ever on reddit from a
performance standpoint (300% our typical benchmark) and received over 150 comments, all overwhelmingly positive about the
brand. A true reddit first, on a few different fronts. Nice job, Maker's Mark.
- Sr. Director of Marketing, iCrossing
Whoever said that reddit ads were a whisky business…Maker’s Mark just proved you wrong!
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