Thoughts — 27 Jan 2021
By Craig Lawrie

Be the next billion view phenomenon on TikTok

by Craig Lawrie

The corporate world of private liability insurance and the meme youth world of TikTok rarely make the most natural bed fellows.

However, our team over in the Hamburg office had different ideas – and have clocked up over a billion views for their #Cosmicfail campaign, on behalf of their client, Cosmos Direkt.

By inserting themselves in to the world of popular culture, Cosmos Direkt seeded an important message to a relevant audience in a world where young people share their own fails every single day.
And in so doing, became one of the first three brands in Germany to reach this milestone.

Cosmos Direkt used a brilliant insight and a relevant message to make the brand feel authentic on the platform. So how do other brands naturally fit in to this youth culture space, which has become so mainstream that it clocked up over 300 million downloads alone in just Q2 of 2020 – and which is responsible for raising the profiles of music artists such as Lizzo and Lil Nas X? Here’s our quick beginner’s guide on how a brand should dip its toe in this space:

1. Remember it’s full screen

Unlike other video platforms, TikTok uses the entire screen canvas, creating an immersive and immediate experience. Therefore, don’t just think about how to create a video that will predominantly be seen vertically, but how to maximise the full bleed space to create a sense of depth and texture

2. It’s bite sized

Less is more. Although the platform will allow uploads of up to 60secs in length, to drive maximum engagement, plan for a maximum of 20 seconds instead. Therefore, ensure that the narrative is simple, relevant, memorable and sharable – and feels culturally relevant

3. Be part of the crowd

Through its filters, effects and a massive music library, TikTok is the perfect vehicle for helping young people feel part of a tribe. To feel authentic in this space, brands need to bin their prescriptive guidelines and behave as their audience does. That means, going to town with filters, music samples and animations.... ensuring that you’ve got clearance to use any tracks in your work!

4. Create suitable content

TikTok isn’t the right space to be thinking of cut down TV ads. Like Cosmos, the most successful brands in this space adapt what is trending on the app and provide tools for the audience to engage and share. Many brands use Hashtag Challenges that encourage people to participate with brands through skit challenges or custom dances. Others “duet” with existing popular TikTok videos via a split screen to give the impression that the two videos are in synch with each other. This technique has been used by a number of music artists to build buzz for forthcoming music releases from acts such as Ariana Grande. Or be brave and consider how to use social commerce by driving purchase through the app itself

5. Think beyond TikTok

Just because a video is created for TikTok doesn’t mean that it should remain just on TikTok. Consider how the content can be repurposed for other social platforms popular with a similar audience base, such as Instagram and Snapchat. Or use, Twitter to drive traffic to it