Reddit turned its fifteen minutes of fame into five seconds of stardom on what is widely considered one of the biggest (and most expensive) advertising days of the year.
The platform, which recently found itself at the center of an economic twister, used its entire marketing budget to buy just five seconds of airtime in a regional spot on Super Bowl Sunday. Titled “Wow, this actually worked.“, the ad looked less like an ad and more like a screenshot taken straight from the text-heavy Reddit interface itself. After a brief clip of the Reddit logo, the short and simple message appeared. it ackowledged that though Super Bowl spots are expensive, buying even five seconds of air time during the Super Bowl was worth it to acknowledge the mountaineous impact made by Reddit movers and shakers on the wolves of Wall Street. Its time on the screen was so short, viewers would have to look twice and likely pause to be able to read it all.
The fact that the ad would only appear in regional markets and was so blink-and-you’ll-miss-it is a testament to the platform itself. In a world of flashy technology, aesthetic feeds, and AR filters, Reddit wakes up every day and chooses “plain”. It chooses a text-heavy, undefined, and uniform looking interface that appears to be devoid of individuality. There’s even subreddits all about the platform’s less-than-aesthetic appearance. And yet, it’s this precise characteristic that makes Reddit so unapologetically itself—a place where, like its ad proudly proclaims, “people rally around something they really care about.”