Reddit To Launch Karma Kash, Reduce Marketing Swag By Half

Reddit’s initiative to help minimize the impact of marketing giveaways and promotional waste, scheduled to launch June 1, will offer a donation to non-profits rather than giving a promotional gift, also known as swag.

Karma Kash -- the project name -- is made possible through support from Givsly, a purpose-led advertising and marketing company. Reddit pledged to reduce the amount of marketing swag it gives away by half, becoming the first to make a promise to donate that 50% to non-profits.

Timo Pelz, Reddit’s vice president of Business Marketing, said karma on Reddit is a reflection of how much contributions mean to the community.

A Reddit community like r/ZeroWaste has 1 million members, with dozens of discussion threads around the desire for companies to eliminate swag or transition to more sustainable options. 



Sometimes these gifts, such as branded jackets or blankets with the Reddit logo, might be used at conferences or sent to people as appreciation gifts, but they end up in the trash shortly after.

People now will have an option to opt-out at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, for example. It replaces a material gift with a donation to a non-profit. “Only 21% of swag is used,” said Chad Hickey, Givsly founder and CEO. "The unused portion is either given away or ends up in a landfill."

It’s a way to become more sustainable, he said. About 20 companies work with Givsly in a similar way.

“Swag isn’t bad, if it’s something someone wants,” he said. “It just allows people to say they don’t need another swell water bottle and redirect the marketing budget to a non-profit in need.”

Reddit, which chooses up to three charities, will build landing pages in the Givsly platform that allow prospects to select a charity when they want to opt out.

“We have other partners that are showing up the indirect benefits by cutting back on marketing material waste,” he said. “One has used this model for the past 21 events and has save about $10,000 in shipping costs.”

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