TikTok unveils debut TV ad

Social.Lab turned around first linear TV spot within a month from brief to launch.

TikTok is launching its first linear TV ad campaign today with a celebrity-laden spot to showcase the platform’s creators during the lockdown. 

The campaign, "A little brighter inside", features pop-music acts such as Little Mix and Tinie Tempah, diver Tom Daley and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his daughter Tilly, as well as creators including Grandadjoe, whose emotive videos about life in lockdown have helped him amass 1.8 million followers. 

The entire ad was created by Social.Lab during the lockdown, meaning directing and briefing agency partners, creators and celebrities, who filmed content using their own smartphones via Zoom or Apple’s FaceTime. 

It is similar to other TikTok marketing fare, with various clips showing the viewer what TikTok content is like, this time set against The Chordettes’ Mr Sandman, as remixed by Cofresi. The brand, which was one of the fastest-growing apps in the world last year, is on a mission to widen its user base beyond its very young core of "tweens" and young adults. 

Social.Lab, a Belgian agency, turned around the spot within a month from brief to launch. It was created by Adam King and Lewis Raven.

While TikTok ran ads on video-on-demand in its Christmas campaign in December 2019, this is the first time it has run a linear TV spot in the UK. The ad will launch today (Monday) and run for six weeks across primetime slots including Britain's Got Talent on ITV, Gogglebox on Channel 4 and Modern Family on Sky One. 

PHD handles media for TikTok outside China. The brand is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. 

The spot is part of a wider marketing campaign throughout May, in which several creators and celebrities featured in the brand film provide insight into their lives under lockdown through TikTok's "Live" function. A different creator or celebrity will go live each day, spanning a range of categories including health and fitness, cooking and mental well-being.

Jana Ulaite, TikTok UK’s head of brand and partnerships marketing, said: "This campaign is all about celebrating the fun and positive spirit of just a few TikTok creators, to shine a light on the amazing content that we are seeing during these tough times. So whether it is Grandadjoe taking part in the level-up challenge or even a dancing cat, we hope it shines a brighter light on the creativity of the TikTok community and brings a sprinkle of joy to anyone who watches it."

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