What TikTok Thinks Manufacturers Ought to—and Should not—Take Away From the Ocean Spray Phenomenon

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Who would have thought that the combination of a person responding to problems with the car by skateboarding to work along with the drink he consumes and the classic rock track he adds to a video post on TikTok would lead to a special moment for the platform?

Nobody could possibly have been prepared for this confluence of events – and therein lies the beauty.

For the few who may have missed this, Nathan Apodaca of Idaho Falls, Idaho posted a TikTok video on Sept. 25 of him skateboarding to work because of a broken car, drinking Ocean Spray cran raspberry juice and signed up for “Dreams” from Fleetwood Mac.

With more than 55 million views and counts, the video led Mick Fleetwood and Ocean Spray CEO Tom Hayes to join the platform to share their answers, as well as a new pickup truck for Apodaca, courtesy of the drinks brand. There was even a new spot for TikTok.

Apodaca wasn’t the only winner, as Ocean Spray shares have nearly doubled in value since late September. “Dreams” reached number 1 on iTunes and returned to the Billboard charts for the first time since 1977, reaching number 21.

Katie Puris, TikTok General Manager and Global Head of Business Marketing, said this was an important moment for the platform and told Adweek that it was “a reinforcement of what happens when our community comes together and it strengthens the core spirit of TikTok.”

Referring to the theme of TikTok’s presentation at NewFronts for digital content in June 2020, which was “Don’t Advertise: Do TikToks,” Puris discussed how the platform’s format allows brands to interact naturally and with a simple process to present user videos to branded videos. She added that the TikTok community is dedicated to interacting with and connecting with brands to the point where millions of people create their own “commercials” in their spare time to post on TikTok.

Puris advises brands to open the app, see the first 10 TikToks, and pay special attention to the comments, but not to follow trends.

“Brands have a chance to think about who they are as a brand, what they stand for and what that means when they appear on TikTok,” she said. “Focus on these core values.”

Reflecting one of the concepts that make TikTok so popular with its users, Puris added, “Brands don’t have to feel like they need to turn out to be perfect. Our community doesn’t expect that from them. “

How can the next brand capture the lighting in a bottle like Ocean Spray?

Puris recognized the tremendous effort that brands and agencies take in planning events like product launches and structuring their marketing spend with business metrics in mind, but cautioned that TikTok requires a different mindset.

“You can’t plan for viral,” she said. “Don’t just wait a moment to be opportunistic, plan for this to be part of the way you are constantly building your brand with an always-on strategy. And do you have a plan when these opportunities arise. “

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