Reddit airs 5-second Super Bowl commercial

The Big Game

Fans arrive before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

If you looked away from your television just for a moment Sunday night, you may have missed Reddit’s Super Bowl commercial — all five seconds of it.

During Super Bowl LV, the social media site ran an advertisement that flashed across the screen for five seconds before disappearing.

If you missed it, here’s what the commercial said:

If you’re reading this, it means our bet paid off.

Big game spots are expensive, so we couldn’t buy a full one. But we were inspired and decided to spend our entire marketing budget on 5 seconds of airtime. One thing we learned from our communities last week is that underdogs can accomplish just about anything when we come together around a common idea.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be the reason finance textbooks have added a chapter on “tends.” Maybe you’ll help r/SuperbOwl teach the world about the majesty of owls. Maybe you’ll even pause this 5-second ad.

Powerful things happen when people rally around something they really care about. And there’s a place for that. It’s called Reddit.

In the advertisement, Reddit appears to be referencing the recent Gamestop brouhaha, in which a group of Redditors joined forces to challenge big institutions who had placed market bets that the Gamestop stock would fall.

According to Variety, the price of a 30-second Super Bowl commercial this year was $5.5 million. That equals about $915,000 for five seconds.

Reddit didn’t have the shortest commercial in Super Bowl history. Per Market Watch, Miller High Life aired a one-second ad in 2009, while Seattle’s Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant aired a half-second regional advertisement the same year.

After a year of pandemic fear and isolation and a tumultuous election, brands were waging battle during the game’s commercial breaks. Many are sticking with nostalgia and light humor to entertain and connect to the 100 million viewers expected to tune in to the CBS broadcast On Sunday.

Cadillac updated the classic 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands,” with Timothée Chalamet as the title character’s son enjoying the Cadillac Lyriq’s hands-free “Super Cruise” Technology. M&M’s enlisted Dan Levy to show how a bag of M&M’s given as an apology can help people come together. And Will Ferrell teamed with GM — and Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson — on a madcap cross country dash to promote electric vehicles.

With so many light spots, advertisers that try a different approach risk polarizing the audience — but are more likely to stand out. Jeep aired a two-minute ad in the second half of the game starring Bruce Springsteen urging people to find common ground.

“There’s so much going on in this country, advertisers want to be a little more cautious and a little more safe around what they put out,” said Vann Graves, director of the Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The Super Bowl is a respite in many ways of what’s been going on.”

Many advertisers combined celebrities with humor. Rocket Mortgage tapped comedian Tracy Morgan to show a family why being “pretty sure” doesn’t cut it in situations like eating questionable mushrooms, skydiving — and taking out a mortgage. State Farm showed Paul Rudd and Drake as commercial set stand-ins. And Hellmann’s depicted comedian Amy Schumer as the “Fairy God Mayo” helping a hapless man figure out what to do with leftovers.

There was some weirdness, too. Oat milk company Oatly ran a surprise ad that showed its CEO singing with a keyboard in a field of Oats that its product is like milk but not milk. The ad sowed confusion — and buzz — online. 

“While unusual, the Oatly ad really stood out as a result of being offbeat and a bit odd,” said Charles Taylor, marketing professor at Villanova University. “It will do a good job of building brand awareness for this plant-based milk.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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