Giving money away to draw customers is a tried-and-true marketing tactic for banks: Refer a friend, and you both get $10! Open an account, and get a truly exceptional interest yield for a year! This serves to remind people that banks are here to help you thrive and grow wealthier, regardless of whether that's true (cough).
Ally Financial and R/GA's "The Great Reddit Caper" differs in one interesting detail: Instead of offering you "real" money on top of money, it gave away Argentium in exchange for Reddit Gold.
It was a really simple promotion: a promoted post on Reddit propositioning the first 400 commenters to give Reddit Gold (the site's own currency) to the post; in exchange, they'd receive Argentium, which is worth 40 times more than all of the major Reddit awards combined—the idea being that even your Reddit money works smarter at Ally.
On Reddit, when people post content, others in the community can reward that content with varying levels of Awards, which are more valuable than basic upvotes because they cost something to give (Coins, which you can buy or earn) and also have a value to the people you award them to. A Gold Award requires 500 Coins, and earns the recipient a week of Reddit Premium membership, plus 100 Coins. Platinum is worth 1,800 Coins and gives the recipient a month of Reddit Premium and 700 Coins for that period.
The Argentium Award costs a whopping 20,000 Coins, and grants recipients three months of Reddit Premium plus 2,000 Coins.
Somebody actually did the math on what Argentium costs in real life, compared to other Reddit Awards. If 40,000 Coins represents $100 U.S., then an Argentium Award costs $50. That doesn't sound like a huge mind-boggler, until you pit it against the value of the other Awards: Silver is around 40 cents, Gold $2, and Platinum is $6. That means Argentium is over eight times more expensive than the next-best thing, 25 times more expensive than Gold, and a whopping 125 times more expensive than Silver.
For a bank, implicitly saying it can make your money work 25 times harder isn't a bad message.
The work results from a collab between Ally, R/GA, MediaCom and Tier One. Their "Great Reddit Caper," which, seriously, is just a single Promoted Post, was awarded the most Gold in Reddit history, apparently smashing the previous record by a factor of 40 in just three days.
Naturally, Ally's also touting itself as the first bank ever to take Reddit Gold. Eh, guess that's true in theory. But even if it's not true in practice, there's a world in which it could be, someday, and this is step one.
The value of this campaign to participating Redditors is obvious, but the Caper is also a worthy experiment for the bank. Banks struggle with understanding, and somehow quantifying, digital assets: Should $10,000 worth of World of Warcraft gear count toward a mortgage? Is that more or less real than the current value of your house?
And as banks get more comfortable playing with these blurring lines, we won't just see more intersecting value exchange online and offline; we're likely to see change in the actual financial tools they use to measure our worth.
That's a pretty weird idea. But people spend real money on dematerialized goods all the time. Whatever you might think of that, it merits saying that the money we circulate today is also pretty much dematerialized, those figures on your bank website as much a concept as Reddit Argentium. The difference lies in what enough people have decided is real.
Andrea Brimmer - Chief Marketing Officer
Jennifer Brockington - Senior Director Brand, Consumer Marketing, and Research
Cristi Vazquez - Senior Manager, External Communications
Kevin Howard - Senior Director, Digital Marketing
Saloni Janveja - Executive Marketing Director
Megan Audette - Director, Deposits Marketing Strategy
Lisa Fulks - Digital Marketing Director
Mackenzie Bright - Social Media Director
Rick Williams - Group Executive Creative Director
Marcel Yunes - Group Executive Creative Director
Katie Facada - Creative Director
Thibault Gerard - Creative Director
Jonathon Shannon - Associate Creative Director
Bede Gannon - Associate Creative Director
Lukas Pearson - Senior Copywriter
Gage Young - Senior Art Director
Lisa Greenleaf - Group Production Director
Jessie Morton - Senior Producer
Ben Hall - Managing Director
David Mintz - Account Director
Maya Goldberg - Senior Strategist
R/GA Content Studio:
Chris Detoy - Director, Content Studio
James Dick - Executive Creative Director
Wing Luo - Creative Director & Senior Technical Director
Natasha Saenko - 3D Art Director
Cristina Kuong - Senior 3D Artist
Ivan Joy - Senior 3D Artist
Calvin Lee - 3D Artist
Gavin Shapiro - Motion Design Director
Christian Heilman - Associate Video Editor
Pete Karam - Senior Sound Designer
Purvi Sheth - Senior Content Producer
Natalie Roback - Senior Manager, Business Affairs
Mariana Dimitrova - Ally Business Lead
Robert DeSena - Media Director, Senior Partner
Andrew Ettinger - Director, Performance Media
Sean Stapleton - Associate Director, Digital Investment
Sue Parente - Managing Partner
Allison Salzberg - Senior Director