Even if you are not from the South and have no connection to Greek life, there’s a chance that you have heard about TikTok's #BamaRush craze.
In the last few weeks, millions of TikTok users have been exposed to the week-long rush event. The majority of the videos are “outfits of the day” (shortened to OOTD) that feature sorority hopefuls in their dorm rooms naming what brands of clothing, shoes, and jewelry they are wearing that day. The brands featured are wide ranging, including Marc Jacobs, Dolce Vita, and Tory Burch, alongside Amazon, Shein, and TJ Maxx. The hashtag #BamaRush has quickly ballooned to 308 million views, with #BamaRushTok at 73 million, and #ootd at 26 million.
The trend has produced a plethora of user-generated content and free publicity for many brands, giving them insight on what their customers buy and how they style it. For smaller brands, it has been a crash-course in going viral, as they navigate a surge in social followers and tap employees to make their own videos in response.
For larger brands, there's been an opportunity to see one segement of their customer base up close. And everyone has been reminded of the power of the TikTok algorithm.
“This is an interesting subculture to see if you aren’t familiar with it,” says Mae Karwowski, CEO and founder of Obviously, an influencer marketing company. “Clearly these women give a lot of thought and planning to what they wear, and we’ve heard from brands that they are shocked the videos are so simple, yet so popular.”
At the same time, it also is once again raising questions around the culture of sororities, which have long been criticized for a history of racist practices. It's something that brands linked to the hashtag may have to navigate along with the potential sales bump.