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Reddit's First Branded Videos Will Feature Google and Lean on Subredditors' Creative Input

Campaign includes paid push on Upvoted

Reddit's Alexis Ohanian promotes his site's foray into branded video. Photo: Reddit

Nobody knows Reddit better than its passionate group of users, so the website is leaning on its tight-knit community to help create its first branded video series for Google.

In May, Reddit opened its content studio, promising video would be a big part of the launch of its stand-alone news site, Upvoted. Now, Google is the first advertiser to launch a sponsored campaign—called "Formative"—which interestingly plays out across both Reddit and Upvoted. Agencies Essence and Acres are behind the campaign.

"Their community is so diverse and vast and naturally tells other people's stories," said Eddie Revis, creative media and strategy lead at Essence. "And video is the fastest and most effective method of storytelling."

This morning, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian posted to the site's entrepreneur-themed subreddit—or community forum—and asked readers to nominate the best tech entrepreneurs. Reddit will then pick eight tech innovators to feature in a video series. Each two- to three-minute clip will zero in on the story behind the entrepreneurs' companies.

Already, readers are nominating people like Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Under Armour founder Kevin Plank and Amazon's chief Jeff Bezos.

"We're aiming to explore that one defining moment in a person's life," Revis said. "It's about storytelling and hearing how technology defines a moment in their life."

Reddit also uploaded a video with Ohanian explaining the campaign.

Once Google's videos are produced, they'll run as paid ads on Upvoted, alongside the news site's daily stories, podcasts and videos that are picked up from Reddit threads.

Of course, Reddit users are known for making hateful comments and online harassment, so it's unclear how they'll respond to advertising that crosses between Reddit and Upvoted. This summer, Redditers revolted against the firing of the site's director of talent, Victoria Taylor, going so far as to cause interim CEO Ellen Pao to resign.

Still, Reddit offers advertisers huge scale, claiming 202 million unique visitors and 7 billion pageviews per month.

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