Adobe turns Reddit forum into livestream show 

Creative software publisher celebrates Reddit Photoshop community with talent show live stream

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Reddit’s r/PhotoshopBattles community on, Adobe produced a five-day competition to show off the best Photoshop talent.

The campaign kicked off on Monday 18 October, with moderators from the r/PhotoshopBattles forum posting images each day for people to humorously alter, such as mangoes, flamingos and aliens.

The best submissions were then featured during an hour-long live stream on RPAN (Reddit Public Access Network), hosted by comedian Patti Harrison.

Five PsBattles Live shows took place every day from Monday to Friday. Guests would join Harrison each day to discuss, roast and praise the creations made by members of the 17.5 million-strong community.

To promote the campaign, Adobe worked with Reddit’s internal creative strategy agency KarmaLab, orchestrating takeovers of Reddit’s landing page and featuring promoted posts within users’ feeds. Adobe started advertising the campaign the week prior to the live shows, and during this preliminary period it hosted Photoshop tutorials, pre-battle rounds and distributed teasers that targeted art, design, student and career related communities on Reddit.

Results / According to Reddit, the r/PsBattlesLive community created for the competition received 1.9 million visits across the five-day event. In total there were 2,300 dedicated submissions to PsBattles Live, generating 18,400 comments, 79,100 upvotes and 992 community awards. Meanwhile, the dedicated live streams brought in 13.4 million views and 5,200 stream comments across the week, resulting in the PsBattles live stream ranking in the 0.01% of all Reddit live streams hosted on RPAN – making PsBattles Live one of Reddit’s most engaged with branded events of all time.

Contagious Insight 

Campaign evolved / In 2019 and 2020 the flagship Adobe x Reddit campaign was called Layer. This initiative allowed Reddit users to overlay images to several themed canvases to promote Adobe Photoshop’s layer functionality – a campaign you can read more about here. This year, with a big anniversary to celebrate, Adobe took the Reddit tie-up a step further with this dedicated live stream celebrating the community’s creators and putting r/PhotoshopBattles in the spotlight. Adobe’s global head of marketing Monte Lutz said in a press release, ‘Creativity is not just an individual endeavour – it can also be the foundation for a thriving community. The r/PhotoshopBattles subreddit has been a source for creativity across the web for the past decade [and] we’re thrilled to once again collaborate with Reddit on inspiring the community.’

Back to school / For the past three years Adobe has used a Reddit takeover campaign in October to promote its creative suite of tools – this being the  time when students return to education. Reddit shared with Contagious that the core audience for Adobe’s PsBattles Live campaign was the 18- to 24-year-olds (followed by 25- to 34-year-olds) and the goal was to drive trial of its Photoshop program.

The PsBattles Live competition heroes the best work that can be made using the company’s tools and acts as an entertaining product demo, while the autumn launch aims to capture students’ attention while they still have disposable income and can make the most use of a subscription. 

Community focus / Due to its 52 million daily active users and 130,000 active subreddits, Reddit continues to offer a unique space for brands to target and connect with people who share passionate interests. Also, unlike most other social media websites, this diagram by shows how Reddit still hasn’t peaked in terms of Google search volume figures – growing year on year since it launched 15 years ago. For Adobe, Reddit is the perfect media channel for community-focused campaigns – not only does the r/PhotoshopBattles subreddit have 17.5 million users (placing it in the top 35 most followed communities on Reddit) but it’s based and built around its own software.

Will Cady, global director of Reddit’s internal creative strategy agency KarmaLab, told Contagious that ‘PsBattles Live is a prime example of how co-creative culture can be more powerful than co-consumptive. Adobe isn’t just broadcasting their message to an audience, they’re inviting collaboration with their community.’ For your brand, try to identify where your passionate communities live and collaborate with them to deliver your message – often you’ll create something much more rich and authentic than the always-on functional messages about your product’s features.

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