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Did you catch Reddit’s 5-second Super Bowl ad and the GameStop reference?

February 7th, 2021 at 11:59 PM
Reddit Super Bowl ad
  • Reddit’s Super Bowl ad was one of the most memorable commercials during the Super Bowl on Sunday, based in part on the fact that it was only 5 seconds long.
  • The ad started off pretending to be an SUV commercial before switching to a text-based spot that would have to be paused to be fully read.
  • The Reditt ad also referenced the GameStock drama of recent days.

Several Hollywood projects are already in the works based on the volatile GameStock stock price swings from a few weeks ago — drama that roiled Wall Street and was fueled by amateur investors who banded together on Reddit to help make it all happen. And now we can add a high-profile Super Bowl ad to the mix of content that’s been at least partly inspired by one of the most surprising and buzzy news stories of the year so far.

We’re talking, of course, about the Reddit Super Bowl ad, which ran in major markets but which you might have missed, because it was only 5 seconds long. The brevity made the spot the most unusual of the always-memorable lineup of commercials during the big game — which included Verizon’s spot with a CGI Samuel L. Jackson, Amazon’s ad with actor Michael B. Jordan personifying Alexa, and Jeep’s “The Middle” spot starring Bruce Springsteen — but it also started off with a bit of a fake-out. The opening frame made people think they were about to see an SUV commercial, and then the screen changed to the real Reddit commercial, which you can check out in full below.

The ad was also pretty unusual, in that the only way to really enjoy it was to pause your screen. “Wow, this actually worked,” the text of the ad read. It continued: “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 they come together around a common idea.”

Sorry we crashed your SuperbOwl party from blog

That last part about “underdogs” was a reference to the GameStock story, which basically entailed amateur investors using Reddit to coordinate a stock-buying binge that screwed deep-pocketed Wall Street pros who were trying to make money by betting on the decline of GameStop — a boring, bricks-and-mortar reliant business that’s been trying to adapt to the digital age.

New York Times bestselling author Ben Mezrich has drafted a book proposal for The Antisocial Network, which will unpack the Reddit-GameStop story and plans are already in the works to turn it into a movie. Among the other GameStop-themed projects in the works based on the stock news of recent weeks, there’s also a movie about the story that HBO is working on. One of the executive producers is Andrew Ross Sorkin, the co-creator of Showtime’s hit drama Billions.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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