How The Body Shop gave Black TikTokers the credit they deserve

The brand’s “Spread Love Challenge” honored Black creators whose original dances have been appropriated on the platform.

It’s a TikTok tale as old as time: Black creators originate dances or jokes only to have them ripped off and appropriated before they go viral on the platform.

The story wasn’t much different for TikTok dancers Tracy “OJ” Joseph, Layla Muhammad and Sunjai Williams, whose viral dances on TikTok have often been spread without proper dance credits.

So this October, skin and hair care brand The Body Shop decided to change the narrative by launching “Spread Love,” a campaign to relaunch its body butter product while honoring the TikTokers that don’t get the credit they deserve.

In partnership with San Francisco-based creative agency Odysseus Arms, The Body Shop invited Joseph, Muhammad and Williams, as well as creator Amari Smith, to create and perform an original dance to a custom track for a film directed by Alan Ferguson, known for his work with artists including Beyoncé and Lizzo. 

The film ran on TikTok, YouTube and on billboards in Bryant Park and Times Square in New York City. 

The Body Shop also hosted a TikTok contest, called the #SpreadLoveSchool challenge, set to the custom track. Ten winners were promoted on The Body Shop’s TikTok channel and supplied with a year’s worth of body butter.

Throughout the development of the campaign, The Body Shop and Odysseus Arms worked with Joseph, Mohammad and Williams and incorporated their feedback regarding personal dance styles and how they spread love.

“Black creators fuel the creative community and make it vibrant for everyone,” Williams said in an email. “Getting [backed by] The Body Shop shines a big spotlight on creators like myself and brings greater recognition to people that are coming up with the ideas.”

Incorporating the creators into campaign development paid off. The campaign ultimately generated 1.7 million views across all platforms, 879,000 TikTok video views and more than 6 million impressions across all social media content. The “Body Shop” track also claimed the top of Billboard’s song breaker chart in October. 

The campaign helped fuel the Body Shop’s mission of diverse representation, said vice president of marketing and activism Hilary Lloyd. 

“The issue of Black TikTok creators not receiving proper credit or proper payment was top of mind [in] the news cycle,” she said. “[That] led us to work and develop creative content that fuels diversity and inclusion.”

Most importantly, the campaign was successful in giving Black creators the credit they were due. Just a month after the shoot, TikTok creator Muhammad also took home the first Video Music Award for best viral dance, and Joseph’s followers on TikTok skyrocketed to 6.7 million. She is now verified on the platform.

“I want to be an example for all the young dancers out there who I know can go big. I want young creators following after me and profiting from what they do. I want to clear a path for them,” Muhammad said in an email. “This contributes to the wellbeing of other people of color.” 

“[Participating in this campaign] felt amazing,” Joseph said in an email. I’ve never been a part of something like this before. “It was so fun to showcase my part and be with the whole crew on set. I think this campaign helps to encourage creators to be their unique selves.”

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