How to create great campaigns on TikTok
2020 saw a whole host of brand campaigns that truly mastered TikTok creativity. So to sum up what's been a whirlwind year, we've highlighted the seven campaigns that best embody the creative rules laid out by our Creative Lab team. We'll look at campaigns from the likes of ASOS, Converse, Mastercard and O2, and hear about the thinking that informed the work directly from the brands that made it happen. Check out the full list of brand campaigns that truly mastered TikTok creativity in 2020.
TikTok is a place where creativity runs free - be authentic, real, fun and positive
Virgin Media boosted morale with a light-hearted continuation of their existing "Stay connected" campaign, designed to highlight the importance of staying connected in what was an uncertain year. The TopView ad format they chose provided a great platform to greet audiences with heart-warming snapshots of couples performing virtual musical duets, loved ones falling asleep on a video call, and cat selfies.
Virgin Media, working closely with our commercial and creative teams, wanted to hero the importance of digital connections in the new normal of dating. Speaking on the power the platform displayed in helping Virgin do this, Inam Mahmood, Managing Director, Global Business Solutions, TikTok, UK said: “2020 has brought on momentous challenges for the advertising industry. The industry has demonstrated extraordinary resilience, quickly shifting focus to new formats and new ways of delivering impactful campaigns. Using TikTok to create new connections with customers in the digital realm, while still driving mass awareness and business growth.”
Launching with a TopView Ad, the “Stay in love, stay connected” campaign clearly struck a chord with TikTokers. In its first 24-hour run in September, it generated 21.9 million impressions and a highly impressive engagement rate of over 16%.
Play positively and have fun
Beats by Dr. Dre worked closely with us to promote the launch of its Powerbeats Pro summer colours. They teamed up with singer-songwriter and rapper Ashnikko and invited the TikTok community to showcase their creativity. The results were appropriately colourful, diverse and quirky. The #BeatsDaisyChallenge exemplified everything that makes Beats By Dr. Dre and TikTok unique – boundary-pushing
A campaign of such scale relied heavily on a concerted multi-team effort, across agencies such as AnalogFolk, Hogarth, Pulse and PMG; music labels; Ashnikko’s own people; and TikTok’s own commercial, creative, strategy and operational teams. “What was truly amazing about this campaign was how it really connected with the next-gen of consumers,” said Sol Ghafoor, Director of Strategic Services at AnalogFolk. Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s Vice-President of Global Business Solutions, was equally effusive about the campaign’s success: “this amazingly creative campaign embodies everything that makes TikTok unique - creativity, community and culture - and Beats has embraced our platform to connect directly with its target audiences.”
The scale of this campaign was matched by its impact, generating one of the most successful brand campaigns ever to have run on the platform. Masses of TikTokers created content using the hashtag, while activity generated more than 7.1 billion views of the challenge and 460 million engagements.
Use Creators to land your message credibly and boost calls-to-action with targeted audiences
Converse teamed up with TikTok and media agency Initiative to launch its Creative All Star series, an offline event in London, that TikTok would broadcast to a global audience while challenging the audiences to design their own custom pair of Converse. Converse worked with an array of Creators to maximise user engagement via a Hashtag Challenge Plus which was complemented by various ad forms to increase reach and sign ups to the offline event.
Max Firth, Converse Western Europe Brand Director, was clearly delighted. He said: “From the Hashtag Challenge in the lead-up to the event, through to the Creators we worked with and customisation moments onsite, TikTok put our audience at the heart of everything and we were thrilled with the scale of the partnership, as well as the level of creativity from everyone who took part.”
A brand study showed the campaign increased brand reveal by 75%, which resulted in 24 million video views and 1.8 million Challenge page clicks.
Think sound first
TikTok is a sound on platform, whose roots are entwined with those of the music industry. ASOS understood that, so decided to include a bespoke music track alongside an augmented reality Branded Effect in their Branded Hashtag Challenge Plus.
Throughout the campaign, ASOS worked closely with Byte London. Bel Moretti, the agency's Senior Leads Creative explained that playing with sound was her favourite part of the campaign. "TikTok sonic branding feels like an evolution of the jingle but in the best possible way. Getting across message and tone, then applying it to action within 15 seconds. It was interesting to take the track from a supporting, to a leading role.
By utilising not only a Branded Hashtag Challenge Plus, but a Branded Effect, bespoke track, and 40+ Creators, ASOS achieved significant brand cut-through with more than 1.2 billion video views in just six days, and 488,000 user generated videos.
TikTokers pay attention - lean into popular challenges, trends and behaviours
O2 understood that by using TikTok's proprietary features it could produce a campaign that would resonate with their audience. The mobile brand made history by launching TikTok's first-ever robot dance Duet - an animation led campaign designed to promote O2's new brand character, Bubl. As TikTokers love to replicate content they've viewed on their For You page, Bubl was the perfect dance partner.
Alongside Bubl, O2 led with a Hashtag Challenge to encourage their audience to Duet Bubl. Tom Skinner, Executive Creative Director, Creative Lab, TikTok, Europe, commended O2’s decision to use TikTok to launch its new character. “The little robot ‘Bubl’ showed how it moved and grooved and made the most of TikTok’s Duet feature, challenging the nation to match his every step for a chance to win the latest phones,” he said.
The campaign led to thousands of engagements and hundreds of entrants on the first day of the competition and the #O2BublDance hashtag has attracted 2.3 billion views to date.
TikTokers take action - but it goes beyond dancing, to movement, gestures and play
Getting people from all around the world to take part in the biggest Mexican wave was never going to be easy during a global pandemic, and yet Mastercard pulled it off. They hooked up with TikTok to celebrate the return of the UEFA Champions League with the record-breaking #PricelessWave. The result, a Mastercard Branded Effect which would shoot out confetti and play the Mastercard football sonic whenever the TikToker raised their arms.
Corey Luke, TikTok’s Brand Partnerships Lead, said “Mastercard were brave enough to test a channel unknown to them, and a creative platform previously considered unfitting for their demographic.” By adopting a Creator-led approach via a Hashtag Challenge, Mastercard was keen to get onboard with a platform that it once perceived as “a young person’s only club”, but which had now transformed “into a place where everyone can express themselves in their own unique ways”.
When chatting to Mastercard after the campaign Rose Beaumont, Mastercard’s Senior Vice-President, Global Marketing and Communications, mentioned “To date we have had nearly two billion views and engagement from football fans, celebrities and sporting legends, and the challenge was also liked, shared and commented on by over 177 million people.”
Unique and Native
TikTok works best when you're unique and native - use Creators, edits and formats
Following a tumultuous nine months, we decided to celebrate October's Black History Month UK in a big way, with a month-long grassroots campaign made by the Black community, for the Black community. The #MyRoots campaign featured carefully created content depicting the experiences and stories of the black community. Every aspect of TikTok was used, such as TopView, Branded Effects, a Hashtag Challenge that resulted in nearly 288 million views, TikTok LIVE educational events and OOH painted murals in London that bore Tikcodes which passersby could use to trigger campaign content on their phones.
Tom Skinner, Executive Creative Director, Creative Lab, TikTok, Europe is clearly proud of the month-long campaign that “championed the amazingly creative and diverse Black community on TikTok”, and that was driven by an all-black team, from TikTok director Caleb Femi, to black Creators. Aryven Arasen, Creative, Creative Lab, TikTok, Europe added: “This was a great collaboration with Black Directors, Black Creators, Black Illustrators, Black Photographers and Black Musicians to bring to life an authentic campaign for the Black Community.”
That the Creators themselves appeared across the out-of-home placements, with a personal statement from each about what their roots meant to them, was both a powerful statement about Black culture and a bang-on exemplar of how TikTok campaigns can extend beyond the digital world.