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Issue #125 - Uniqlo & Wes Anderson
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TikTok Case Study = Uniqlo & Wes Anderson
We see more and more brands active on Facebook and Instagram make the move to TikTok. The media argument is compelling - huge audiences with high engagement. So buying TikTok ads is getting normalised.
But as GTTC readers know, the challenge is getting the creative right. The manicured, tasteful ads that suit Instagram can become bland wallpaper on TikTik.
Uniqlo chose to promote a product that feels right - new Ts that celebrate the final series of manga classic Attack on Titan. Both the graphics and the music are discordant - so finger stopping.
But the ad format doesn’t help Uniqlo build its audience on TikTok - their Europe profile has just 21k followers and the US one is only slightly higher. With the hashtag Uniqlo on over 2 billion views, there is a real opportunity over and above relying on customers to mention your products in the Fit check TikToks.
With a genuine affection for the arts and a track record of Art collaborations (partnerships with the Tate and MoMa, T shirts with Basquiat, Warhol, Haring, etc.) Uniqlo could and should do more.
For example the current Wes Anderson meme has so much potential for the right brand to get involved. The hashtag has 640m views.
A Uniqlo edit could use their huge collection to highlight the Wes Anderson palette and fire up their organic posting.
Users like @Fritzbacon are taking the concept to new heights and the ongoing success of @accidentlywesanderson (1.8m followers on IG) shows the idea has legs.
Key to unlocking TikTok as a brand building platform is to understand and reflect the elements that capture the imagination of users. Finding a way to add another dimension to memes can be so good for a brand.
Uniqlo is a solid brand, one of the most successful fashion brands in the world. Similar to Zara, they pull off the positioning of a low-cost, downmarket brand that is not necessarily perceived as cheap. In fact, Uniqlo is a very respected brand, and similar to competitors like Zara and H&M, this brand pulls off fast fashion well.
I think the element of Japanese foreign design plays a role in Uniqlo’s appeal, similar to the Spanish influence of Zara and the Swedish influence of H&M. And as is the case of many fashion brands, their brand ambassadors or collaborators play a big role in their appeal.
Attack on Titan is a massively popular manga/anime series, with a distinctly visceral aesthetic and tone. Of course, as a franchise of Japanese origin, it makes sense that they partner with Uniqlo. And we’ve seen Uniqlo create many collaborations with different anime franchises.
The Uniqlo video ad you see above is a pretty engaging, full-screen experience that would satisfy Attack on Titan fans while also creating enough intrigue for people who have never heard of the franchise. The video does a great job of keeping people aware of the Uniqlo collab.
The rest of Uniqlo’s account is a mixture of different things - like people trying out different outfits to store tours to highlighting collaborations. For some reason, the account does not seem to be performing well. One thing to note is that Uniqlo’s creative aesthetic is a bit inconsistent on TikTok. I compare this to JD Sports or Asos, who we’ve seen do well on TikTok appealing to a younger audience by not taking themselves too seriously, fully utilizing TikTok product features, and having a recognizable aesthetic.
Speaking of which…
Simon and I also want to bring attention to the delightful Wes Anderson trend taking over TikTok. People are doing the most mundane things but editing their videos in a template that has been specifically created to emulate the work of Wes Anderson, the famous film director. This ‘Wes Anderson edit’ trend even takes the song “Obituary,” pulled from the soundtrack of The French Dispatch, Anderson’s 2021 film.
Wes Anderson is known for symmetrical, quirky arthouse visual design, with bright, faded colors. His film soundtracks and overall choreography create a sort of lovingly vintage—and deadpan—modern romantic view of life. When it comes to having a clearly identifiable ‘aesthetic,’ Wes Anderson is world class.
And so we’ve seen people take on the ‘Wes Anderson’ trend using the same audio track and similar visual techniques. It doesn’t seem to have taken off among brands, though we think Uniqlo could be a perfect candidate for this. If brands aren’t too worried about violating their self-prescribed ‘brand guidelines,’ the Wes Anderson edit could be an opportunity, not only for Uniqlo but for all brands looking to stay relevant and experiment with a fun trend.
Last week, football club Crystal Palace did their own rendition of the Wes Anderson trend. This has gotten 460K views so far, which is more views than what the majority of Uniqlo videos get.
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