Reddit is unveiling Up The Vote, a regional out-of-home push that encourages people to get active in the upcoming election, marking its first major advertising campaign.
R/GA, which was named the social network’s agency of record in February, created a series of outdoor and digital billboards that contrast the amount of votes given to popular posts on Reddit and how those same numbers could sway an actual election.
The genesis of the idea came about as the agency and Reddit teams realized the gap between winning and losing in politics was often the same size as the level of engagement on a popular post.
The OOH campaign will run in four markets, New York, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles, which were chosen because they are strongholds for Reddit. Digital ads will also appear nationally on the platform itself.
“The creative really leans in on our brilliantly absurd tone,” explained Roxy Young, VP of marketing at Reddit. “We identified posts on Reddit and drew the connection between a post that got that many votes and the impact if that many votes were cast in an election.”
Voting on posts is at the heart of Reddit communities, where people post anonymously across eclectic forums. Reddit users vote an estimated 165 million times daily.
Young noted that one popular post about steak was the inspiration for a billboard that depicts a steak shaped like the U.S., headlined, “If you can vote for this United Steak of America on Reddit, you should vote for real America, too.” The billboards utilize a bold orange, a brand color, contrasted against a white background.
Reddit’s first, long-anticipated brand campaign took a few diversions on its way to consumers. The 15-year-old social-media site postponed a big, integrated campaign honoring its anniversary at the beginning of 2020 due to coronavirus, and again in June, which marked its actual anniversary month.
“We have an amazing campaign on the shelf,” said Young. “We were actually getting ready to roll out at the beginning of June when civil unrest came about and we thought, let's pause that.”
While the 15th anniversary was an initial focus, the agency still had the election year at the forefront of the pitch.
“We presented Up The Vote in our initial pitch back in January,” said Chris Polychronopoulos, ECD at R/GA. “We thought it was the most serendipitous idea to connect voting, which is intrinsic to Reddit’s platform, and the gravity of the 2020 election year.”
In addition to the OOH and in-site campaigns, Reddit will also host a series of AMAs, Reddit parlance for Ask Me Anything, with experts on voter education and rights. The campaign also launches on the somewhat obscure National Poll Worker Recruitment Day.
While Up The Vote is considered the brand’s initial foray into advertising, Reddit and R/GA placed a video during the early months of the COVID-19 lockdown to thank service workers and the Reddit community for keeping up good spirits.
The compilation of uploaded Reddit videos showed commenters in all their zany glory, captioning them as the idiots, the geniuses, the players and the ballers, depending on the content they posted.