Big Brands Are Moving To TikTok

We’ve all heard the phrase “sing for your supper” — an allusion to days of yore where minstrels traveled the land. The best way for them to get the local nobleman to offer up a meal and a place to stay for the night was to butter him up with a jaunty tune.

But as of this week, the phrase is getting a modern, digital upgrade thanks to combined efforts of Burger King and Chinese-based short-video social media site TikTok. They aren’t allowing people to sing for their suppers, but they are teaming up to let them dance for their Whoppers, which we at PYMNTS feel is close enough.

Bust a move on TikTok and you can order a Whopper at a steep discount, getting your burger just for $1. “We are investing in our digital channels and are always looking for innovative ways to engage with guests,” the company said in a statement. “The BK North America team is constantly pushing into new territories and Whopper Dance on TikTok is one of these ideas.”

To dance their way to deliciousness, users must follow the BK brand on TikTok and post their dance/order video on the social media app using a specialized BK soundtrack and #WhopperDance hashtag.

Upon completing those steps, users will get a TikTok message from Burger King usable within the app to order their Dollar Whopper for restaurant pickup or as part of a delivery order ($10 minimum).

Reaction to the promotion has been varied. Some customers have reportedly begun working on their Whopper dances, excited about snagging a discount burger. But others have derisively noted that to dance publicly, they’re going to need a much better payoff than a low-cost Whopper. And still others (probably those over 40) have mostly been asking: “What the heck is TikTok?”

For those in the dark, TikTok has gone from a fringe video-posting site to Generation Z’s digital hangout of choice. Particularly as COVID-19 quarantines grind on worldwide, TikTok content makers and musicians have gone from obscurity and internet celebrity over the course of a few weeks. In other words, TikTok is where the young and hip now go to see and be seen — which means brands and artists are slowly but surely moving there as well.

The Hollywood Reporter recently noted that with movie production shut down and people only interested in watching so much Netflix, many are moving to TikTok in search of entertainment. The publication said that means not only are Hollywood stars like Jennifer Lopez appearing on the platform, but so are newly minted TikTok sensations like 16-year old Charli D’Amelio.

“They’re both stuck at home, using the same app to reach their followers — except that D’Amelio has 40 million more of them,” the report said.

The publication also noted that with the memory of being caught off guard by YouTube’s rise still fresh, the entertainment industry is embracing TikTok. The report said Netflix and Warner Brothers have both begun promoting themselves on the platform, while Hollywood agents have come to call on the likes of D’Amelio.

Consumer brands are signing onto the platform as well. For example, The Hollywood Reporter noted that singer Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand recently launched a collective (known as a “collab” house) for up-and-coming beauty and lifestyle TikTokkers. According to Fenty, the group will function as a content-creation hub for TikTok beauty gurus.

“We are standing in the official first Fenty Beauty TikTok home,” Rihanna said at a launch event last winter. “I just wanted to create a platform for the next wave of content creators. I think our generation is the sickest, the illest, the most creative, and I can’t do it alone. So to join in with the people who are influencing the world in my community and my generation, this is a hub.”

And while Fenty is making perhaps the biggest push among well-known beauty brands, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Too Faced and Milk Makeup have increasingly turned to the platform as well. Meanwhile, Verizon, the NFL and Discovery have all signed official partnerships with the platform.

Will TikTok attract more and more big brands?

Fabian Ouwehand, founder and growth director at Uplab, which helps TikTok creators monetize their content, told Glossy magazine that the platform’s U.S. version still has a way to go to be truly commerce-friendly. “More and more users have been using it to do all different sorts of things, [but] in functionalities, it hasn’t developed much,” Ouwehand said.

For example, the Chinese version of TikTok (called “Douyin”) has shopping links built directly built into livestreaming — a feature TikTok presently lacks. But such a feature’s presence on Douyin hints at the potential for more commerce capacity to come for TikTok.

And if they build it, it seems that brands will come. In fact, brands seem to come anyway, because everyone wants to hang out with the cool kids. And in summer 2020, the cool kids are on TikTok — dancing for their Whoppers.



The Delivering Cardholder Customer Service Report, a PYMNTS and Elan collaboration, examines how FIs are addressing their cardholders’ concerns and how they can drive greater satisfaction. The report is based on a survey of 2,078 U.S. consumers across of a range of demographic groups.

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