Reddit Hacked the Super Bowl With a 5-Second, Long-Copy Ad

Fun, low-budget effort hits above its weight

If Rocket Mortgage's two national 60-second spots epitomized the big-budget, broad-comedy apex of Sunday's Super Bowl advertising (earning the top two slots on the USA Today Ad Meter in the process), Reddit's effort was the refreshing polar opposite—a 5-second regional spot with underdog verve, anchored by long copy you'd never be able to read in that brief window of time.

Reddit's agency of record, R/GA, created the spot. You can see it below. It aired during the second quarter in nine of the top 10 U.S. metro markets—including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Reddit | Superb Owl

The spot was delightful on many levels. It was timely—honoring the GameStop short squeezers on Reddit's r/WallStreetBets group. It was refreshingly different—visually arresting, but also impossible to immediately digest, creating intrigue and buzz. It was perfectly on brand—with the final three sentences in particular articulating the advertiser's DNA perfectly. And it was surely more inspiring for the underdogs of the world than any national spot that aired Sunday, offering the possibility of community for dreamers in a time of social isolation.

And it was done in ultimate Reddit DIY style, at a fraction of the cost of anything else on the game.

"In a sea of beautiful, expensive, celebrity-laced ads, dropping in janky slide for 5 seconds when you have something to say can be all it takes to get people's attention," Bryan Gregg, R/GA California's executive creative director, tells Muse. "We shared an idea with the team at Reddit a few days before the big game. They loved it, we love them, together we made it."

"We knew we had to break the mold and disrupt the current ad model. It wouldn't be very 'Reddit' if we didn't," adds Ellie Bamford, R/GA's head of media connections. "The standalone 5-second spot in the big game not only piqued curiosity in real time, it continues to inspire people to build powerful communities around their passions. That's a big impact in 5 seconds."

For more on R/GA's Reddit antics, check out their work with Ally Bank late last year.


Client: Reddit
Campaign Name: "Superb Owl" 
Agency: R/GA California
VP, Executive Creative Director: Bryan Gregg
Executive Creative Director, Studios: Chapin Clark
Creative Director: Kevin Koller 
Associate Creative Director, Studios: Kirstie Bones
Associate Creative Director, Copy: Jocelyn McCanles
Senior Copywriter: Scott Steele 
Art Director: Ben Muckensturm
Group Production Director, Studios: Hana Newman
Motion Design Director: Felipe Mahalem
Content Producer: Janie Penney 
SVP, Managing Director: David Corns
VP, Head of Media: Ellie Bamford
Group Director, Media Operations: Liz Hart
Media Director: Faviana Campbell
Media Planner/Buyer: Devon Bremer
VP, Executive Strategy Director: Yael Cersarkas 
Strategy Director: Kaitlyn Frysztak
VP, MD, Client Services: Cara Watson
Account Director: Parry Rominger
VP, Executive Production Director: Julie Andrews
Group Director, Production: Catherine Hughes
Senior Producer: Katie Cahill
Director, Business Affairs: Lynda Blaney-Smith
Senior Manager, Business Affairs: Natalie Roback 

Chief Marketing Officer: Roxy Young
Senior Marketing Lead: Dong Chen
Marketing Specialist: Katie Ambrose
Head of Brand Creative: Tavish Maclellan
Creative Lead: Chris Potts

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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