‘One of the trickiest platforms to crack’: Bud Light is now testing paid media on Reddit

Bud Light is bringing back its iconic “Real Men of Genius” campaign but with a new twist: It’s all about the internet. That’s why, for this campaign, the Anheuser-Busch brand has focused its media dollars on platforms like Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube, rather than traditional platforms like linear television. It’s also why Bud Light will run its first paid media execution on Reddit this week.

Bud Light’s push to paid on Reddit follows another Anheuser-Busch brand, Michelob Ultra, testing out paid media on the platform. Earlier this month, Michelob Ultra began running a paid spot targeting runners for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon on Reddit. The Anheuser-Busch brands’ work on Reddit come as Reddit has tried to woo more advertising dollars to its platform.

“This campaign is going to be our first foray into Reddit,” said Bud Light’s digital director, Conor Mason. “In terms of paid media strategy, it’s one of the trickiest platforms to be able to crack because it’s people anonymously uploading great content independently of where it came from.”

To stand out, the beer brand created a digital spot that speaks specifically to Reddit users, saluting the user on the platform who sorts the content by what’s new to read rather than by what’s trending. Creating work that speaks directly to the Reddit user is a newer approach from a brand perspective, said Mason, adding that “Reddit is still pretty young when it comes to advertising on the platform.” Previously, ads on Reddit were typically banner ads. Now, marketers posting ads that are speaking directly to users to drive conversation.

As previously reported by Digiday, Reddit has become a more proactive marketer in recent months, courting advertising dollars as well as added new tools to its offering.

“Reddit is becoming more attractive for marketers,” Amanda Parker, account supervisor at digital shop PMG, wrote in an email, adding that marketers who are keen to diversify their spending and find avenues outside of the Google and Facebook duopoly are the most open to the platform.

“Reddit has diversified their video ad offerings and offered [cost-per-click] pricing so we are seeing some clients look at them as a possibility now for the first time,” said one media buyer. “It’s a highly engaged community which means we have to be really thoughtful about the creative we use there.”

Figuring out how to speak to the Reddit community was key for Bud Light, as the creative needed to speak directly to the users. “The average user on Reddit is spending more time on Reddit than they are across almost any social media platforms,” said Mason. “There is a huge user base there, and the question is, really, how do you speak to Reddit and the 150,000 plus sub-Reddits in a way that you don’t feel like a brand?”

In 2018, Bud Light spent $261.7 million in media, per Kantar Media, which also reported that the brand has spent $77 million in media in the first quarter of 2019.

Bud Light declined to share how it spends its media budget or if it is increasing or decreasing spending anywhere. The beer brand did share that, in recent months, it has also adding Twitch to its roster of platforms with a channel focused on the Overwatch League, as it is focusing more on esports.

“We are trying to follow where people are spending their time,” said Mason, in terms of the brand’s media spending.  “Reddit is a huge, one and Twitch is another. We’ll continue to grow that direction.”

In terms of metrics to measure the success of a campaign, Bud Light tracks engagement, likes and shares. Though, recently, Anheuser-Busch as a company has been looking more at consumer conversation as a metric. “We’re trying to start a conversation and be a part of the conversation,” said Mason, adding that the new platforms will help them do that.


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