Those Cute Ads With Serena Williams and Her Baby Are Also Ads for the Billboard Company

Alexis Ohanian is a top investor in AdQuick

Alexis Ohanian
Headshot of Tim Nudd

Alexis Ohanian, the Reddit founder and husband of tennis superstar Serena Williams, elicited a collective awww from the internet today when he posted photos of four billboards he bought on I-10 outside Palm Springs, California—featuring photos of their daughter, also named Alexis, and declaring Serena to be the “G.M.O.A.T.,” or “greatest momma of all time.”

The billboards were timed to coincide to Williams’ return to competitive tennis. She is set to compete in the BNP Paribas Tournament in Palm Springs next week, which will be her first tournament since giving birth to Alexis in September.

The ads, whose somewhat amateurish designs make them even more adorable, were clearly a heartfelt gesture. But they also happen to involve one of Ohanian’s business holdings. He used AdQuick, an outdoor advertising company in which he has a financial stake, to design and place the ads—a fact that’s made its way into a number of news stories about the boards.

AdQuick pitches itself as a company that brings online tools to outdoor advertising, making the process of buying and measuring easier and more transparent. Ohanian’s venture capital firm Initialized Capital invested in AdQuick’s seed round in July 2017.

AdQuick co-founder Matt O’Connor tells Adweek that the company is the first to allow “anyone to complete the full cycle of booking outdoor ads online, from searching available inventory, to vetting locations, approving assets and analyzing results.”

The company, he says, was born out of two frustrations with outdoor advertising—a slow, low-tech buying process, and the inability to quantify the impact of campaigns. “AdQuick solves both problems,” he says. “It aggregates the widest variety of inventory nationwide, allows advertisers to book online, and helps close the loop on campaigns with hard metrics on impact and results.”

Founded by former Instacart executives, AdQuick is based in Los Angeles. Along with baby pics from famous husbands, it has also run campaigns from clients including Lyft, Peloton, and OrangetheoryFitness.

It’s unlikely Ohanian’s goal here was to get press for AdQuick, it certainly didn’t hurt. “This was all Alexis’s idea. But we were glad to help,” says O’Connor. “AdQuick was a super-quick way for him to get this done for Serena.”

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.