Reddit’s 5-Second Super Bowl Ad Celebrates GameStop Stock Drama – Was It Worth $1 Million?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Brian Blanco/AP/Shutterstock (11017154l)Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) warms up before the first half of an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Charlotte, N.
Brian Blanco/AP/Shutterstock / Brian Blanco/AP/Shutterstock

Trends move quickly on the Internet — blink and you could miss the latest meme. But Reddit took a chance on Super Bowl viewers actually pausing their screens to watch a five-second ad it placed during this year’s game. And it worked.

See: The Most Expensive Super Bowl Commercials of All Time
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The social news site, recently made famous as the home of subreddit group r/WallStreetBets, shared an impactful message in just four paragraphs of ad copy and five seconds of screen time. Then, the commercial went viral on Twitter Monday morning. Talk about getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Why the five-second ad spot? That’s simple. Reddit couldn’t afford the $5.5 million for a 30-second commercial. That was the going rate for this year’s Super Bowl slots, according to Fast Company and other news sources.

Instead, Reddit claimed to spend its entire marketing budget on a 5-second ad, which amounted to little more than some fast-moving imagery of horses and SUVs — Super Bowl ad staples to catch your eye — and then about 100 heartfelt words. The ad subtly referenced the subreddit WallStreetBets with a mention of “bet” and “tendies,” the word investors in the sub-thread use for their winnings. Then, the ad notes that, “…underdogs can accomplish just about anything when they come together around a common idea.”

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Reddit Chief Marketing Officer Roxy Young told CNN Business that the ad was not part of the company’s marketing plan. But, she added in an emailed statement, “[W]e were so inspired by the power of our communities in recent weeks that we rallied to pull it together in just a few short days in collaboration with our agency partners at R/GA.”

Reddit followed up the ad spot with a tweet explaining its logic, writing: “…maybe a few of you will take the time to pause a 5-second ad.”

Almost immediately, Twitter user Mike Khachikyan was the first to reply, “I did,” with a photo of his computer screen showing the ad paused.

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See: How Much Will Advertisers Spend On This Year’s Super Bowl?
Find: Budweiser — ‘The Super Bowl is Not the Holy Grail,’ Foregoes Ad Spot During Game for the First Time Ever

Reddit also posted the ad as a pinned tweet, where it has received 3.1K retweets so far.

Using the $5.5 million price tag for a full-length ad as a baseline, news site The Wrap speculated that Reddit’s ad probably cost between $900,000 and $950,000. The ad reached many major markets, including New York, Los Angeles and D.C. — and, of course, an extended life span across the globe as Reddit’s tweet went viral.

In case you’re curious, the ad wasn’t the shortest Super Bowl slot ever to run nationally. In 2009, Miller High Life beer company ran a one-second ad in national markets, The Wrap reports. 

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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