Like many others, I have Tik Tok as a part of my social media platforms. I have seen many sides of this platform but most recently a specific type of content has been popping up on my for you page: Global companies making Tik Toks to popular sounds.
Company marketing strategies have made a massive change in advertising techniques within the past few years. I remember advertisements being more corporate: a clear message with information about the company/product and a catchy song to go along with it. Even at the start of the 2010s, you could see these ads on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram. However, with the realization that the online world is expanding and with more young people taking over social media platforms, companies have changed gears to accommodate their new consumer base. Part of this change involves including more informal forms of marketing, attempting to be seen as relatable and thus gain the interest of younger people interacting with their page.
Changing with the times
One company that has been extremely successful on social media is the airline Ryan Air. They have been actively posting on platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok, and with the recent COVID-19 lockdown their popularity online has sky rocketted. Within the past year this company managed to ammount 1.1 million followers on their Tik Tok account. On their Tik Tok page, all videos follow a meme format, based on current viral sounds and trends. More generally, this content is focused around making light jokes rather than advertising anything in particular to do with ticket pricing or special deals. Though some would be shocked that this type of content would even get minimal views, I was not surprised to see that these videos were going viral, having 100,000s of views and likes.
In order to gain popularity and personify itself, Ryan air has made a persona for itself called “plane face”. Plane face is shown in the videos I have attached. below The filter used can be used on Tik Tok. It superimopses the user’s eyes and mouth on a green screen video/picture from the user’s camera roll and is a commony used filter. The first video gives a general idea of the “meme” and slander style of content posted on their page. With these videos Ryan Air establishes an informal relationship with their followers and has resulted in funny comeback comments and duets to these “roasts”. The second video is also an example of this type of content. The third video is a duet and a viral sound trend where both users “act out” the sound. Most of the duets made by Ryan Air are satyrical. Finally, there are videos made by followers who make a Tik Tok on a Ryan Air flights. These are mostly people interacting with plane face and the comments being made about its customers and followers.
Content Cal very recently posted an interview they did with the airline to find out why Ryan Air’s marketing model is so effective. Much like what I have explained, in the article Head of Social, Michael Corcoran expresses the importance of brands losing their corporate voice and adapting their younger audience’s language and interests to stay relevant in a changing, younger world. Corcoran even tells readers that the company is actually getting more sales because of these videos! Aside from alot of free promotion because of the video virality, some followers are even buying ryan air tickets just to post a video stating they have been inside of plane face. He even discussed that with the engagement on these videos Ryan Air has been able to separate customer complaints from main accounts. On Twitter the airline even made a second customer service account so that if complaints go viral they can privately handle any unhappy comments through private direct messages. Other companies like Duolingo have also joined this new wave of marketing, posting with their mascot in a similar style and including references to popular celebrities in their videos. Most recently, they started dueting videos of Dua Lipa (a popular signer), “flirting” with her and talking about how much their mascot “Duo” loves her music.
But one question remains, is this something that is actually new?
If we think back to past Twitter trends, we will realize that this form of marketing has been slowly becoming more widespread than one might think. For example, many American fast-food chains have been using the “meme” style in their tweets to interact with followers for years prior to Tik Tok’s existence. One notable example is Wendy’s fast food chain would call out other chains by degrading either their food or starting a Twitter war with another company or user. This is known as Twitter trolling, which is directly happening on other platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram on Insta Reels.
Undoubtedly, I am sure other companies will follow as this becomes a more profitable model and I am curious to see what will come next in online marketing!