Unless you've been living under a rock (or perhaps just returned to earth after a very long trip away) you've probably heard that Tik Tok is the hottest new social platform. You've read up on it, downloaded it to your phone, scrolled the feed, and maybe even posted a clip or two yourself. If you did all that--and you're over the of age of 25--consider yourself way ahead of the game.
While Gen Z originally catapulted TikTok and its quirky, 15 to 60-second vertical videos into the zeitgeist, users from other generations--Millennials, Gen X and even Boomers--have also been getting involved in ever-accelerating numbers. Together, these more established generations--along with the brands who want to court them--have been redefining the way that we leverage the TikTok platform.
Here are a few fascinating ways that big brands are making inroads with TikTok's users across generations.
Early TikTok adopter ESPN was on a mission to capture younger audiences--and its done an impressive job by jumping on the platform and posting clips like this one of ESPN sports television personality Stephen A. Smith walking along to viral music hit "Old Town Road") along with jaw-dropping sports stunts and ridiculously impressive young athletes. However, ESPN has no doubt noticed that its more mature fan base--like Millennials, Gen X and even Boomers--are scrolling through, so the brand's video content is evolving.
The brand, which has nearly 4 million followers, now consistently uploads game replays and video highlights on TikTok, which has been a content mainstay for older sports fans who have watched the TV network over the years. It's important to note that these videos are set to the trending hip hop beats that Gen Z loves, so ESPN keeps both younger and older fans coming back for more.
If you scroll through all the videos featured on Apple Music's TikTok account (which has nearly 200K followers), you'll come to find that Apple Music isn't necessarily trying to make a play at Gen Z--the brand is sending marketing messages in the exact same tone as you would see in its distinctive ads running on TV, in print, and other digital media.
The bulk of what you can watch on the brand's TikTok account are quirky interviews of trending music artists and polished lyric videos--a far cry from the comedy-centric and "memeable" videos that made the video app so popular with Gen Z in the first place.
Unlike the majority of brands that tailor or recreate their marketing strategy to suit TikTok user and Gen Z preferences, Apple stays true its core consumers and uploads videos Millennials and earlier generations will appreciate.
Beauty brand e.l.f Cosmetics has been making a major splash on TikTok since joining the platform in 2018 (the year Tik Tok itself launched). The brand has even gained a reputation for creating arguably "the most influential campaign on TikTok" when it launched a sponsored hashtag challenge campaign, #eyeslipsface, that included an original song.
Inspired by Kash Doll's hit "Ice Me Out," the song is called "Eyes Lips Face" as a parody on the acronym namesake of the brand. Campaign engagement went through the roof, with videos tagged #eyeslipsface being viewed collectively over 1.2 billion times. But here's an interesting twist--many of the campaign participants are not a part of Generation Z.
e.l.f. Cosmetics has been a long-time favorite of the Millennial generation and the brand's TikTok account reflects that. While e.l.f wants to play cool with Gen Z, it still never alienates its Millennial followers--even on TikTok.