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We are very excited about TikTok as a brand new platform for creativity and think this topic is severely under-explored.
TikTok Case Study #30 = Pepsi
Influencers isn't a new idea. Brands have been paying celebrities for their endorsement for decades. The model hasn't changed that much over that time - the brand gets pictures or video of the celeb with the product - and maybe a comment.
My favourite has to be James Brown reworking of Sex Machine for a Japanese noodle brand. Using sports people can be even harder - think of Liverpool and Gillette. So what do Pepsi do with their deal with Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Ianis Hagi and others?
A genius TikTok campaign that lets fans play with their heroes through use of Duets.
In his latest epic post on TikTok, Eugene Wei goes into a lot of detail on how clever the Duet feature is. But I cannot imagine a better use than this Pepsi campaign.
It's only a few days in but already has 1.4b views - mainly with Messi, but you can see Hagi and Pogba picking up the pace. The structure lands the branding really well, too.
And as Wei suggests we can expect the TikTok community to morph the campaign - if everyone is dueting with the words best footballer, you can choose to duet with another TikToker.
The Pepsi exec shared the thinking behind the campaign:
OBJECTIVE: Entertain fans with a ‘unique’ way to allow them to play with their heroes
💡 IDEA: Leverage TikTok’s Duet feature to unlock this Pepsi entertainment, making the product & the Rotate track integral to it
🔥 EXECUTION: Released individual + paired videos of the Pepsi team on TikTok and letting “generation creation” have their fun.
👀 RESULT: See it live on the Pepsi Global HTC page here.
Having a world famous athlete pair up with a brand can sometimes feel cheesy or forced. But this isn’t some in-your-face ad with the athlete smiling into the camera and asking you to drink Pepsi. The genius of this Pepsi campaign comes from the brand’s use of TikTok’s ‘Duet’ feature.
The ‘Duet’ feature allows people to create a video side-by-side with the original Pepsi ad, and basically have free reign as to how they would like to creatively interact. The TikTok creators who created the first duet videos provide some guidance, but the further you scroll down the #PepsiChallenge TikTok page the more you see a wide diversity of videos created by all different types of people.
Honestly, the original Messi TikTok video isn’t anything exciting on its own. The beauty comes from when people create duets and mash ups. Duet campaigns like the #PepsiChallenge ‘give you a rough brief’ on what video you should be creating, which takes away the cognitive complexity of creating your own original TikTok from scratch. And it’s something everyone can do to fully appreciate the TikTok experience, even you.
This is a feature that doesn’t exist on any other digital media platform. And no matter how much Instagram, Snap, or others might try to replicate Duets, TikTok has a huge built-in advantage with regards to user behaviour and product design. A prevailing behaviour on TikTok is interacting, remixing and responding to other people’s content. And TikTok’s product design makes it much easier to do that on the app vs. competitors.
As Simon mentioned, this recent piece by Eugene Wei, touches on these TikTok-specific benefits. Wei writes, “Every additional user on TikTok makes every other user more creative…[TikTok] explicitly lowers the barrier to the literal remixing of everyone else's content.” Because of TikTok’s focus on building out products like visual filters and effects like the Duet, this opens up the potential realm of creativity for users and subsequently, for brands. It’s worth reading the entire piece by Eugene Wei, which is almost poetic in its description of how TikTok features tap into fundamental human behaviour.
I get pretty excited thinking about the creative potential of using TikTok features like duets and other effects in future campaigns. There are sooo many more innovative ways that brands can use TikTok-specific features that also are infinitely easier for users to interact with. And rest assured, Simon and I will make sure to cover them in Good TikTok Creative.
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