It didn’t take Reddit very long to become known as “the front page of the Internet.” During its decade of existence, Reddit has surpassed 169 million unique visitors and 7.55 billion pageviews each month. However, brands are still cautious when it comes to marketing on Reddit because they don’t believe the traffic will convert.
Another reason why brands are a bit skeptical when it comes to marketing on Reddit is that they are dealing with a unique audience that isn’t afraid to ask difficult questions and isn’t too fond of marketing – just look back at some of the AMAs that have gone wrong.
That doesn’t mean big brands haven’t tried to give Reddit marketing a go by either adding to the discussions on subReddits or by going the paid advertisement route. In fact, here are ten campaigns launched by a variety of brands that prove when done correctly, Reddit can be a major assist for brands.
With the exception of the disastrous AMA with CEO Carlos Ghosn earlier this year, Nissan has been a shining example of a how a brand can win over Reddit. Take for example how the automaker famously promoted the Versa Note, the first vehicle to be sold on Amazon, in 2013.
The brand asked two of its community managers, who happened to be “real reditters,” to be human and transparent – instead of just acting like a brand. The Nissan Community Managers then asked Reddit users to request their favorite items on Amazon in the thread ‘If you could have one thing from Amazon, what would it be?’ – which Nissan promptly began purchasing.
According to Digiday, “Nissan received over 1,500 comments and requests on the post and ended up treating Redditors to 30 months of Reddit gold (the website’s premium membership), and a long list of items ranging from a Nexus 10 to 4,500 ladybugs.”
A couple of weeks later, the campaign continued with a large Amazon box being driven around a small town Wisconsin. Nissan and a camera crew had the mysterious item driven around until some Redditor spotted the box. The result? The post claimed the top spot on Reddit’s front page.
Brands in the financial and insurance industry already face the challenge of creating engaging content. But, TransAmerica not only succeeded in achieving that goal, the brand was also able to win over reddit at the same time.
TransAmerica took a risk in 2013 by launching its first Reddit campaign, the Unitas Challenge. The college football pick’em competition was spearheaded by employees who realized that Reddit could become an important part of the brand’s social media strategy. By using the Homepage Roadblock and two weeks of Sponsored Headlines, TransAmerica was able to successfully build awareness and get Reddit users to sign-up.
According to a director of TransAmerica’s Social Media Strategy, “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.”
3. Maker’s Mark
Maker’s Mark is a brand known for its clever marketing – which it has been successfully doing since 1954. Recently, the bourbon maker has embraced social media by launching campaigns and being active on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. In December 2013, the brand experimented with Reddit.
The campaign, “Let it Snoo,” a play on the name of Reddit alien mascot, was actually welcomed by the Reddit community. One user stated, “It’s witty and caught my attention pretty well – kudos to them.” Mike Cole, director of sales and brand strategy at Reddit, informed Digiday that “Deciding to include [the Snoo reference] was a big part of their success. They tipped their hat to the community.”
Maker’s Mark, which also happens to be the first alcohol to advertise on Reddit, followed that campaign with the equally successful Kentucky Derby-themed campaign which asked Redditors to come up with whiskey-related racehorse names. The campaign received more than 1,000 comments during its first week.
Last year Lenovo teamed up with Onion Labs, the satirical newspaper’s native ad team, to create a fantasy football web series entitled ‘Tough Season” to essentially make fun of itself. In the series the main character plays a game called ‘Computer Slap,’ where he uses a Lenovo Yoga to destroy other computers. Lenovo promoted the series by challenging Reddit users to create their own 8-bit version of the game.
Bob Cordell, Lenovo’s digital marketing manager, informed Adweek that, “This is an opportunity to engage in the community and dip our toe in the water. We wanted to do something that was more natural with that community than straight-up advertising or some fake ads.”
The result? More than 107,000 clicks driven and 25 fully functional games submitted. In addition to that, everyone who submitted a game received a prize that ranged from laptops to Reddit t-shirts.
5. Glamour Magazine
To promote Anna Kendrick’s cover, Glamour Magazine had the actress recite some of the most inspiring “Shower Thoughts,” along with her own original words of wisdom, like “Does a frozen yogurt headache burn fewer calories than an ice cream headache?” For those unfamiliar with “Shower Thought,” Adweek describes the subReddit as “pretty much the same as SNL’s old ‘Deep Thoughts’ by Jack Handey—but on the Internet. ”
After just one day, the campaign became one of Glamour’s most popular videos on YouTube. While there may not be a lot going on in this campaign, it’s another example of how creating lighthearted content that taps into the Reddit community can be so effective.
Denny’s is no stranger to launching innovative social media campaigns – especially the brand’s highly publicized Tumblr page. Thanks to the efforts of Amber Gordon from the creative agency Gotham Inc., Denny’s has been able to reach the millennial audience through community interaction, humor, and trending topics.
It wasn’t surprising then that the chain restaurant turned to Reddit during National Pancake Week 2013 to help promote its Tumblr page.
Denny’s created a number of cleverly worded sponsored headlines that only appeared in Reddit’s front page – which then drove traffic to its pancake-filled Tumblr. Despite a short time and limited budget, this lead to Reddit becoming the number one traffic driver during the multi-platform paid campaign. It also ranked This as the 2nd highest traffic driver ever to the Denny’s Tumblr page. Reddit’s Mike Cole said that, “Because of their progressive thinking Denny’s became Reddit’s first QSR brand and a benchmark for all future campaigns.”
To create some buzz around its “Virtual Travel Experience,” Marriott teamed up with Reddit to initiative a UGC-generated campaign that asked users “why their community is the best.” The users then made their sales pitch by submitting creative content that showed the Reddit community why their hometown was so incredible. Marriott selected ten finalists from the hundreds of entrants, but it was Reddit users who choose the winner – who received a “Teleportation Party” and an actual trip.
According to Marriott, the campaign was 60% above Reddit’s average for headline banner CTR garnering over 193,000 clicks to the contest page and Reddit’s highest user-generated content for sponsored posts.
Ikea Australia showed in 2013 that sometimes you don’t have to actually launch a Reddit campaign to win over Redditors. The furniture brand published a coupon that offered a free crib to customers who had a baby born nine months after the ad was published – February 14, 2013.
While not initially intended to be placed on Reddit, users found the Valentine’s Day ad humorous and clever, which resulted in more than 1,000 comments and 3,263 points (97% upvoted). Sometimes you just have to let the internet do the legwork for you.
Here’s a great example of how to get the Reddit community involved in with your brand. Spotify asked users more than thirty different questions regarding songs and the various emotions that those songs sparked in people.
After a few a weeks, the community created playlist lead to over 10,000 submissions; more than 2300 comments; and 450 plus brand interactions. With these results, Spotify has plenty of content to generate multiple Reddit-inspired lists. No wonder Spotify was named Reddit’s ‘Community Brand of the Year 2014.’
10. New Belgium Brewing
When it was time for New Belgium to develop a campaign for its Fat Tire beer that was Reddit specific, the brand decided to let Redditors embark on a Photoshop challenge. New Belgium gave users a picture of two men on bikes preparing to battle each other. New Belgium took its favorite Photoshopped images and tweeted them to followers, as well as placed them on the Fat Tire Experience website.
The Photoshop battle was able to reach more than 49 million impressions and receive 73,000 clicks.
New Belgium also collaborated with the Reddit community when it released a new beer called Snapshot Wheat.
New Belgium asked Redditors to come up with ideas for a weekly #SnapChallegne. Now, that’s a great way in getting a community to assist with a marketing campaign while at the same crafting content that is brand relevant.
Not only did Redditors respond positively to the campaign, New Belgium’s community manager Nic responde dto comments and even instantly used some of the ideas. This campaign helped New Belgium snag an AMA on the home brewing subReddit shortly afterwards.
These brands are finding success on Reddit, which might seem like an unusual source for marketing. They’ve been able to accomplish this feat by being transparent, generous, and competent enough to know how to handle Redditors.
If you want to learn more about marketing on Reddit, watch SEJ’s Chief Social Media Strategist Brent Csutoras 45-minute webinar titled “Big Brands and Reddit – Are You Missing Out?”on YouTube, or read the recap post.
Featured Image: Eva Blue via Flickr (Creative Commons)