Issue #108 - Built Different on TikTok
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TikTok Case Study = Built Different
But TikTok is now so much more than that. It is so big and so diverse, everyone is on it. It’s like the relatively early days of Facebook - the range of audience and the range of content make it like the ITV of social. Something for everybody.
T-shirt brand Built Different get this and are running ads very different to Prada.
The ads feature a bunch of young and middle aged men - who really are not models - moaning about the problems they have with a 3XXL T-shirt from Primark.
They spot a guy in a good T-shirt and he tells them about Built Different T shirts.
The brand is all about Big guys and some ads talk of beer bellies.
It’s a bloke’s version of a Fit check.
The fact they use the code Beer to give a ‘mystery’ discount says it all.
This is a niche but the ads work hard, don’t take themselves too seriously and solve a problem. Job done.
How could they do more? There is lots of building and DIY content on TikTok and a smart move could be some product placement - approach the people behind that content and give them free product? And then develop some of those into more typical creator/influencer deals. Their site has lots of product reviews - could some of those be turned into TikTok testimonials? And one out there idea; get one of these ‘models’ to do a tour of Wetherspoons pubs and share that as TikTok travel content.
This feels like a brand started by my uncle and his mates. And I love it.
No fancy models and in fact you might want to describe the models at the opposite of fancy. And that’s part of the authentic appeal of Built Different - a t-shirt brand built for larger men.
It’s so amateurish that in some of the videos you can’t even hear the voiceover properly. But the videos address the fundamentals of successful advertising - a clear description of product benefit, trend-inspired captions, visual examples of users testing the product, having explicit calls-to-action, and teasing a humorous discount code.
In a world where we are sold products by gorgeous celebrities, seeing a product that comes to me from a more relatable person is a pattern interrupt for my TikTok feed.
To me, this feels like the real triumph of a grassroots DTC brand. The two biggest challenges of any business are product and distribution. TikTok has become a groundbreaking distribution channel through massive organic reach at levels we haven’t seen before.
Now I know what you’re thinking - high organic reach is also what Facebook offered, Instagram offered, or any other early digital media platform offered. The biggest difference with TikTok is the creative aesthetic and its implications for production cost. TikTok accepts and often encourages more authentic content, which on average costs less than super high quality production. Shooting a TikTok from your bedroom might even be favored more than shooting a TikTok from a professional film studio.
In the case of Built Different, it looks like these videos were recorded in real homes without any fancy lighting, make up, or visual effects. If low cost production can compete with high cost production on TikTok, this enables an entirely new long tail of brands—like Built Different—to have a chance to launch and sell their products.
We love to see it.
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