With more than 100,000 active communities and 13 billion posts and comments, Reddit is a hub for conversation where users connect, share content, discuss opinions, dig into interests and discover new topics. Through the years, redditors have kept their fingers on the pulse of the latest trends in tech—often predicting the next big thing through subreddits like r/electricvehicles (started in 2009) and r/bitcoin (established in 2010).
For its first activation at CES, held in Las Vegas from Jan. 5 to 8, Reddit brought its communities and conversations to life through an interactive “Reddit Future Tellers” house of clairvoyance. Based at the Wynn Las Vegas over two days, Reddit Future Tellers aimed to show brands and marketers how the platform’s tools and insights can drive meaningful business outcomes.
Timo Pelz, vp-business marketing at Reddit, says the team sought to combine the digital product with physical experiences to show participants what Reddit looks and feels like.
“We’re in a b-to-b context here, so it’s really important for brands because they want to understand who are the early adopters and who are the early advocates that we can tap into,” he says. “We want to differentiate ourselves by saying that the value of the information that you find on Reddit through the conversations people are having has this power of predicting things that are way in the future.”
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Welcomed by Reddit’s manifesto to “Find Your People” and guided by future-facing phrases on the floor, attendees first encountered the “Attackronyms” game on a touch screen where they identified the true meanings of Reddit’s most popular acronyms by launching an upvote arrow at the correct definition (IYKYK). A nearby QR code linked to the game for participants to enjoy on their smartphones post-experience. Next, a display showed how five subreddits—r/bitcoin, r/3Dprinting, r/vegan, r/showerthoughts and r/marchforscience—started and later became mainstream topics; a QR code led to each.
At the center of the space, a large, orange “crystal ball” digital art installation presented ideas and predictions around the future of entertainment, gaming, tech, transportation and Web3 from Reddit’s leading communities on these topics. Attendees pressed a topic button to see relevant posts and comments appear on the digital crystal ball.
“We did this research, analyzed millions of conversations on Reddit [in August 2022], to figure out what are the trends that people are talking about right now because everyone comes to CES and they’re wondering, ‘What’s next, what’s new, what’s going to happen?’” Pelz says. “We looked at what redditors were already talking about, and then we took the information from that and talked to about 2,000 people who are users of Reddit but also Instagram, TikTok and YouTube to see the differences. And these were the five topics that rose to the top.”
Keeping with the fortune-telling theme, Reddit Future Tellers offered a tea bar where attendees could read the “communi-tea leaves” through vertical-focused conversations and threads on a tablet, as well as pick up Reddit-branded tea packets with labels featuring posts from different subreddits.
A brand ambassador gave attendees a reading using Reddit Archetype cards, each expressing a different persona relevant to the platform’s communities, such as The Fool, focused on memes and humor; The Innovator, interested in inventions and programming; and The Enchanter, excited about fashion and magic. Lastly, attendees tested their predictions against those of Reddit communities in a touchscreen true-or-false game. Real Future Tellers came away with sunglasses as a prize.
In addition to the future-focused theme of Reddit’s activation, sustainability played a large role in its build and operation, including eliminating extra plastic packaging, using QR codes instead of paper handouts, serving water in reusable glassware and offering biodegradable tea bags. Reddit donated the space’s custom-fabricated flat walls to Habitat for Humanity post-event, and ceiling tiles from the meeting rooms were biodegradable and made from plant-based materials.
“We’re going to scale this beyond just this experience,” Pelz says. “What we’ve done in the past is we’ve taken elements of these big experiences and found ways to bring them to smaller events, so we had the Reddit Explorers Club at Cannes Lions and brought a small version of that to C2 Montréal. We find a way to continue the theme and continue to tell that story and get more use out of some of the things that we’re not donating or recycling.” Agency: Giant Spoon.
Photo credit: Reddit