Beyond the Brief: Using Memes in Advertising Social Ads

Michelle Mire
Senior Content Marketing Specialist
Published9 Apr

How did Reddit boost its CTR 50% by using memes in advertising? Go beyond the brief and hear how the Superside creative teams came together to make it all happen, including creating pop-up video and photography studios in South Africa and Columbia.

A social media platform advertising itself on social media. Sounds like one of those riddle-wrapped-in-a-mystery-inside-an-enigma kind of things, right? However, it’s exactly the paradox Reddit found itself in.

The Reddit Business Team came to Superside with this request, “We've heard from many prospective advertisers that they have a hard time understanding what Reddit is and therefore find it hard to relate their brand to it. Those that aren't users struggle to visualize what an ad could look like or how community-driven our targeting can be.”

How do you say, “Heeey marketers, brands like Adobe, Uber and MeUndies achieved incredible results advertising on Reddit! What are you waiting for?”

The answer: Well, memes, obviously. Using memes in advertising, seriously? Yep, learn how we helped Reddit nail their brilliantly absurd meme campaign, delivering ultra-Reddity ad concepts that drove a 50% increase in the click-through rate (CTR).

The Brief: A “First-of-its-Kind” Campaign Using Memes to Advertise Reddit

In the beginning, we were a little bit stumped as to how to make user testimonials and case studies exciting. But, with a brand like Reddit, you can sort of go a bit more out there, be wild and think outside the box.

Gabriella Bajkai
Gabriella BajkaiCreative Account Lead, Superside

Reddit had proof that its communities were a great place to advertise, sharing in-depth case studies from Adobe, Caliber Fitness, HP, MeUndies and Uber. The Reddit Business Team just needed a way to take their marketing insights and make them compelling.

Easier said than done when you’re advertising your social media platform on other social media channels, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and trying to quickly and effectively explain a somewhat complex concept.

Since advertisers were having a hard time getting a handle on how Reddit communities worked, Superside creatives Holly Robson and Gabriella Bajkai explored how Redditors communicated within the platform during their concept development process.

Spoiler alert: These cynically authentic users LOVE memes. When Robson and Bajkia saw a classic meme used to celebrate success rates in the HP case study, everything clicked.

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Beyond the Brief: From Concept to Natively Engaging Memes in Under a Month

Some people think Reddit is the anti-ad platform because Redditors don't necessarily like to be told or sold things or shown inauthentic content. But, relatable memes were the perfect way to present the stats and give marketers a taste of what makes Reddit so engaging for audiences.

Holly Robson
Holly RobsonCopy and Concept Lead, Superside

Excited by the concept of using memes to advertise themselves, the Reddit Business team had one small caveat. The content in the social media ads had to be original content. This meant the creative team couldn’t just copy existing memes. Instead, they had to recreate them.

Once we knew what we needed to do to produce Reddit's own iconic memes, we set up mini studios in Johannesburg, South African and Bogotá, Columbia, and put out the call to ask our fellow Supersiders if they wanted to be part of the shoots.

Pano Ladas
Pano LadasProducer, Superside

Superside video producer, Pano Ladas stepped in, coordinating video shoots in Johannesburg, South Africa and Bogotá, Colombia, recruiting Superside talent via Slack to star in the campaign and setting up mini pop-up studios in each location.

While the videos and still images were being produced, the ad templates were being designed so that everything could come together seamlessly. Fueled by a team of approximately 30 Supersiders from around the world, the entire project was completed in less than a month.

Meme Marketing Takeaways

When the campaign boosted earned a 50% higher CTR, Reddit also said, "Wow!" They even ordered more memes. As we finish our peek behind the brief on these on-point ads, here are a few more takeaways to help answer your most burning questions about using memes in advertising:

  • Is Reddit really the birthplace of memes? Oh internet, how we love you so. Really, it depends on who you ask. According to Adobe, "Baby cha-cha” the dancing baby who went viral in 1996 was the first meme.
  • Are gifs and memes the same thing? Technically, gifs are animated and memes are static. But as online experiences become more immersive, the concepts are getting blurred.
  • Does using memes to advertise a brand really work? The meme campaign for Reddit Business sure did—with 50% increase in CTR. Memes are 10x more effective than traditional digital ads and have a 60% higher organic interaction rate.
  • What makes meme marketing so effective? On a human level, they’re authentic and relatable. On a business level, they’re relatively simple and cost-effective to produce.
  • Why is Superside a great partner for meme campaigns? We act as a creative extension of your team, mobilizing super-talented Supersiders from around the world to deliver high-performing creative on brand, on time and on budget.

So many advertising opportunities, so little time and resources. However, when you partner with Superside, you plug into a creative superpower that helps your creative, marketing, brand and other teams produce the campaigns they've been wanting to build.

From concepting and strategic consulting to iterating and scaling, we've got you covered with a global team of top designers, trained in the latest creative services and technologies from AI and AR to 3D and motion.

Fast, Flexible and World-Class
Fast, Flexible and World-Class

Fast, Flexible and World-Class

The top 1% of design talent.
AI and quality enhanced.
We meme it.

Michelle Mire
Michelle MireSenior Content Marketing Specialist

Michelle enjoys learning from and empowering ambitious marketers and creatives focused on scaling design and fueling growth.🚀 With more than two decades of experience, she’s worked at both agencies and in-house teams at companies of all sizes in the United States and Canada. She began her career as an advertising copywriter, remastering these skills as a content marketer and becoming a subject matter expert on everything from frozen pies and financial statements to SaaS and now CaaS. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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