We’ve written many times recently about how TikTok is now one of the fastest growing apps. Indeed there have been times when it has held the top position for non-gaming apps in Apple’s iOS Store. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that many brands have now shifted a portion of their influencer marketing to the short video platform.
Generation Z, in particular, has flocked to TikTok. Therefore it is a natural place for brands that target the youth demographic to market. As we write about in our 50 TikTok Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind, TikTok enjoys higher engagement rates than either Instagram or Twitter. This makes it ideal for influencer marketing.
Here are some great examples of brands that have realized the potential TikTok has to offer, helping them reach their target audiences.
12 Examples of Influencer Marketing on TikTok:
In 2019 Mucinex began a Halloween-themed campaign with four TikTok influencers to promote its product in the lead into the upcoming flu season (the regular kind; this predates Coronavirus).
The TikTok creators made and shared videos where they woke up looking like zombies. They grabbed Mucinex, and before long, they were dressed up and ready to party.
@jaydencroesDon’t let a cold limit your fun this holiday! I am ##TooSickToBeSick 😎🔥 ##Mucinex ##Sponsored♬ #TooSickToBeSick - Join The Challenge
They used the hashtag #TooSickToBeSick, launching the campaign as a challenge. This was the first time that TikTok has worked with an over-the-counter medicine product. The influencers knew they had to be careful not to break any laws relating to promoting medical products.
The challenge ran between Halloween (October 31) and November 2. The original influencer videos encouraged other TikTok fans also to make videos where they could transform from being too sick to “so sick” to being ready to celebrate Halloween.
The original sponsored hashtag challenge posts featured transformation effects found on TikTok and a unique sound created by Mucinex’s ad agency, McCann.
2. Too Faced
Too Faced Cosmetics experienced success on TikTok before they even knew the platform existed. They suddenly noticed that their Lip Injection Extreme plumping lip gloss suddenly sold out six years after they had introduced it to their range. They discovered that this was because the product had inspired a viral challenge on TikTok, where young users showed off the effects of the product with before and after videos.
@kristenhancherDAMN my lashes look THICK! Wearing the @toofaced DAMN GIRL mascara ##TooFacedPartner ##TFDamnGirl ##sponsored♬ When I Get Going - Kallico
This inspired Too Faced to work with TikTok influencers for their next product launch, Damn Girl mascara. The influencers used the hashtag #TFDamnGirl and shared videos of themselves applying the mascara and showing off their lashes before and after applying the product. The initial post shows TikTok Influencer, Kristen Hancher’s bare face lip-syncing. It then does an impressive transition into her wearing the Too Faced product. The campaign generated 821 million views of #TFDamnGirl videos.
3. Red Bull
Red Bull is one of the most innovative companies marketing online. They have set the benchmark for viral videos and demonstrate best practices for running their own social accounts and video channels. They also work with influencers across a range of platforms.
One of their recent influencer marketing sponsorships on TikTok is with Keeoh. He shared a video on TikTok, where he claimed he was going to perform a magic trick with Red Bull. In the clip, he appeared to pour Red Bull into a travel mug on a table, but then upturned the mug to show it was empty of Red Bull. Just as you wonder where the Red Bull has gone, one of Keeoh’s friends pops up from behind the table, and it is evident that Keeoh has been pouring the Red Bull into his mouth.
@keeohyo but where did the Redbull go😳🤷🏼♂️🤷🏼♂️ ##sponsored♬ original sound - keeoh
This is an example of Red Bull following an existing trend – the trick shot of somebody pouring a drink somewhere other than where the audience expects.
This is also an instance of low-sell influencer marketing. The ad makes no apparent effort to sell the benefits of Red Bull to you. The energy drink is merely a prop in a comedy video – a classic case of product placement in a low-budget video.
Denim and lifestyle brand, Guess, launched a hashtag challenge in September 2018 based around the hashtag #InMyDenim. This included a takeover ad, where users who opened the app were directed to the sponsored #InMyDenim challenge.
Guess launched their hashtag challenge by working with influencers who posted videos where they transformed from looking disheveled to glamorous. Their "after" transformation featured Guess apparel. Once fans saw these initial influencer “seed” videos, they started making and sharing their own transformation videos, using the #InMyDenim hashtag.
@ourfireDon’t you wish getting ready was this easy? 😂❤️🔥 ##inmydenim ##sponsored @guess♬ #inmydenim I’m a Mess - Bebe Rexha
At the time, Guess was repositioning itself in the US market, hoping to reach a younger demographic. The company had just had its first US sales dip and saw TikTok as a way to reach a new potential audience. Working with TikTok influencers helped this process of change.
Gymshark is in the fitness sector. They have been involved with Instagram influencer marketing for some time and decided that they should also target younger potential customers on TikTok. At the beginning of 2019, they created their 66 Days: Change Your Life challenge. They asked users to set a personal goal that they wanted to achieve by March 8, about two months after the start of the campaign. They promised the winner of the competition a year’s supply of Gymshark goods.
Gymshark partnered with six influencers who had higher followings on TikTok than Instagram. The campaign hashtag, #gymshark66, had 45.5 million views.
@gymsharkTag your ##palentinesday crush 💙 @morganrmoroney ##gymshark ##gymshark66 ##valentinesday♬ Ohhhh its low - funnyfifa4
TikTok fans recognize Gymshark for the educational content of many of their videos. They (and their influencers) speak directly to their target market – fitness enthusiasts.
Chipotle ran a series of TikTok challenges during 2019. The first challenge, in May 2019, revolved around people uploading videos with the hashtag #ChipotleLidFlip. The first video in the challenge showed an employee close a burrito bowl with an acrobatic flip of its lid.
In the second challenge, the company created the hashtag #GuacDance. The challenge was for people to upload videos of themselves dancing to an internet-famous song by children’s entertainer Dr. Jean about guacamole (and using the hashtag) in the days leading up to National Avocado Day on July 31.
The company observed that the campaigns led to their digital sales growing significantly —up 99% versus the previous year, with digital sales now representing about 18% of their overall sales. They recognized that about half their customer base are Generation Z and Millenials, so they decided to adapt their marketing to reflect that demographic.
They continued the practice at Halloween with their “Boorito” campaign. They offered food at a reduced price for customers who ordered in a spooky outfit. The Boorito challenge was for people to upload videos showcasing their before and after Halloween costume transformations, using a custom sound Chipotle bite.
In mid-2019, TikTok introduced a new feature, Hashtag Challenge Plus. Like your regular hashtag challenges, brands set a challenge to TikTok users to upload videos of themselves using a product in some way. With the Hashtag Challenge Plus, however, brands can use a separate tab that features an in-app experience that allows people to buy products from the campaign within TikTok itself.
Retailer, Kroger, was the first brand to create a Hashtag Challenge Plus campaign. They partnered with four TikTok influencers for the campaign: Joey Klaasen, Cosette Rinab, Mia Finney, and Victoria Bachlet.
@cassidy.riley##matildachallenge ##fyp ##foryoupage ##foryou ##petbff ##TransformUrDorm ##gotmagic♬ original sound - cassidy.riley
Kroger’s #TransformUrDorm campaign asked users to post videos showing their dorm transformations. Although the additional tab has since been removed, the influencers’ uploads together racked up 3 million views, and the videos uploaded using the #TransformUrDorm hashtag have been viewed 875 million times.
8. Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein entered the world of TikTok for the first time in 2019. They took a more traditional route than the others on this list – creating an official account first and posting their promotional videos from this account first. However, they also chose to work with a series of big-name celebrities.
They initially produced 22 videos, using the tag #MyCalvins, where stars such as Shawn Mendes, Kendall Jenner, and A$AP Rocky are briefly interviewed for Calvin Klein. For example, Shawn Mendes talked about how he wished others could experience what it feels like to have large audiences sing back to you. He wore Calvin Klein clothing during the interview.
@calvinklein##statements on hair, via ##kendalljenner. our now. ##mycalvins ##calvinklein♬ original sound - calvinklein
Notably, these videos have been viewed comparatively few times compared to other campaigns using less famous influencers. Calvin Kelin is perhaps coming across as more traditional than most of the other brands featured here.
9. Sony Music
The music companies are generally excellent at keeping up with the latest marketing fashions. And they know how to reach out to a young target market.
Sony Music ran a TikTok influencer marketing campaign promoting the Nicky Jam x Sch song, Atrévete. They ran this campaign across Spain, Argentina, and Italy. The music company then contracted twelve influencers to create a TikTok video each. These influencers reached a total of 8 million engaged users, 1.2 million likes, an average engagement rate of 6%, and 10,300 user-generated videos.
Another Sony Music TikTok campaign was for US band AJR Brothers. They partnered with TikTok duo, Max and Harvey, to create a challenge to meet them and the band during their London show. Max and Harvey first uploaded an introduction video where they explained the challenge. They then published a funny video using the song 100 Bad Days, collecting 230,000 views and 40,000 likes.
10. Run Around
Run Around is a smartphone game where you have to help your character run in a full circle without hitting any obstacles. The game makers worked with TikTok influencer Candice867 to create sponsored content relating to the game.
Candice recorded her screen and her voice as she played the game. Candice is best known for sharing videos on TikTok of her playing games.
@candice867LuckyLooter Pt. 2 ##TikTokPartner ##sponsored♬ original sound - candice867
While broadcasting a game on TikTok is very different to one on Twitch, being considerably shorter for a start, the basic principle is the same. It shows prospective players what the game is like and provides a snippet of typical gameplay. The sponsored video of Run Around showed that the game was fun and worthy of people downloading it.
Kool-Aid ran its first TikTk hashtag challenge in 2019. They offered $10,000 prize money as an incentive.
The campaign began with rapper Lil Jon and mascot Kool-Aid Man, posting three videos to the brand’s official account at @Koolaidmanofficial. TikTok users were then encouraged to post videos of themselves enjoying the holiday season, using the tag #OhYEAHChristmas.
Kool-Aid then brought other influencers into the campaign, including Glitterandlazers, kidrl, nickandsienna, and kingcamo_1.
The net effect was that there was sufficient interest in the contest for people to upload over 10,000 videos of themselves enjoying Christmas.
12. Warner Music
Warner Music has also discovered the advantages of using TikTok influencers when trying to promote music to a young demographic.
@alex_destrezaSumate al ##DjNoPareRemix ☝️😯quiero verlos bailar a ustedes 😍 @abailarconmaga ##dance ##duo ##easy ##justinquiles ##jquiles ##baile ##challenge ##coreo♬ DJ No Pare (feat. Zion, Dalex, Lenny Tavárez) - Remix - Justin Quiles, Natti Natasha, Farruko
Their campaign aimed to promote Justin Quiles’ #DjNoPareRemix across Argentina and Mexico. Six TikTok influencers were selected to create a suitable video and upload it for their fans. Those six videos gathered more than 1.5 million likes and had an average engagement rate of 17%. The original videos, and the associated hashtags, led to fans uploading 13,000 user-generated videos.