Reddit’s video tribute to 2022 celebrates ‘a beautiful mess’

The annual year-end spot was created by R/GA

Published On
Dec 06, 2022

Editor's Pick

Reddit today released its annual “Recap” video highlighting moments that garnered substantial chatter on the platform over the past year. The latest iteration, created with agency R/GA, is a nearly three-minute frenzy of memorable topics, backed by an original song, “A Beautiful Mess,” that also narrates the various clips.

Moments include Will Smith’s infamous slap at the Oscars, the AI-generated art craze, hit TV shows like “Severance” and “House of the Dragon” and a scroll of heartwarming, viral videos. However, the year was messy as well, so the spot also highlights more serious topics, including destruction from this season’s hurricanes, Russia’s war in Ukraine and protests over civil rights in Iran.

Reddit is airing the video on Reddit, of course, as well as its YouTube and social channels. As a celebration of the role that the social media product plays in people’s lives, “Recap” is targeted specifically toward Redditers, who have showered the year-end campaign with upvotes since its first iteration in 2020. The video even calls out several Subreddit communities, such as “r/NASCAR” and “r/Eldenring.”

Reddit Chief Marketing Officer Roxy Young described the video in an email as "part celebration and part “thank you” to our amazing communities."

"As with all of our marketing, it’s important to us to keep our communities at the heart of everything we do and this video, which is now in its third year, is the ultimate showcase of the hilarious, heartwarming, and sometimes head-scratching moments that make up a year on Reddit," she said. "Our aim is to celebrate and pay tribute to our users and communities who make these moments possible, and have fun recapping the year in a uniquely Reddit way. Our Recap video is something I always look forward to because it really demonstrates the wide range of reasons people come to Reddit and the different ways in which they engage across so many topics and interests.”

The original song in the video is the third that Reddit has commissioned.  According to R/GA VP Executive Creative Director, Bryan Gregg: “No one knows Reddit like Reddit. So that’s where it starts. We identify the community moments that made the year, then develop our creative approach including tone and visual language that capture the magic of Reddit to develop a brief for artists. From there we get a bunch of songs from musicians – ranging in musical style and approaches, narrow it down, and work closely with them to fine tune the details of structure, textures, tone, etc. Ideally, we want to make a song that does justice to the content and stands on its own musically while staying true to the Reddit communities and brand. There are so many great songs that end up on the cutting room floor, maybe next year we’ll make a b-sides album."

"It’s not easy to capture it all in one song, but it's important that we try. Hopefully people appreciate the look back and give Redditors, and everyone for that matter, some perspective as we move into another trip around the sun.”

“Recap” arrives after a busy year for Reddit. The company launched its first national TV campaign in June, then soon after rolled out its NFT platform for “collectible avatars” (which received a shoutout in the “Recap” video). Reddit is supposedly preparing to go public, having filed with the SEC at the end of 2021, but no further measures have since been taken.

“The front page of the Internet” has also managed to avoid controversy this year, unlike social media competitors such as Twitter, Meta and TikTok. Twitter in particular, which is similar to Reddit as a destination for aggregating news, has seen a difficult year thanks to its takeover by Elon Musk and the departure of many revenue-providing advertisers.

Young said that the video has become "hotly anticipated among the Reddit community," which is the primary audience for the campaign.

"When posted in r/blog, our 2020 and 2021 videos became the number 2 and 3 most upvoted posts in the community respectively, and two of the most awarded posts in Reddit history – so the Reddit community is definitely our primary audience for this video. That said, there’s always opportunity to showcase the platform to those less familiar with it and assets like this do a great job of bringing the platform to life, so we’re looking forward to seeing the broader community reaction.”