Attn launches TikTok Studio with Unilever, Clorox, Google
In a sign of how navigating TikTok and creating content for its large Gen Z audience is becoming more important for brands, Attn, the media company that focuses on social issues, is launching its own TikTok Studio to cater to their diverse needs—from strategy ideation to matching brands with creators.
Officially launching today, Attn’s TikTok Studio already has brands onboard as initial clients including Unilever, Clorox, Madewell, Google, MTV and Geico. It’s the LA-based media company’s first dedicated studio for a social platform, despite the company’s continued efforts to create more content for brands on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram outside of its own publishing business.
“TikTok is an incredibly important platform now. It’s where all the cultural conversations are happening,” says Taryn Crouthers, chief operating officer and head of the new TikTok studio at Attn. “When Attn launched, we focused on Facebook and Instagram but how our business has evolved, we felt it was important to create a TikTok Studio specially. It’s a natural next step.”
Attn’s TikTok Studio will provide brands with consulting, creative and production services and will guide brands around community management, paid media opportunities and matching with creators. While each brand will have distinct needs, for some brands working with Attn could mean building out content calendars and workshops on developing brand voice. All services are designed to help brands improve brand perception and drive sales organically on the platform, says Crouthers.
For its first slate of partnerships, Attn’s TikTok Studio is working with Unilever’s global in-house pop culture studio Unilever Entertainment to create TikTok content for brands under its portfolio, starting with Murad Skincare. Attn will also launch a TikTok channel for Clorox, build an influencer campaign for Madewell and work with Google, MTV and Geico on co-branded TikTok campaigns.
Several partnerships build on past work. Previously, Attn has worked with Unilever to develop its IGTV series “Girls Room,” created by Lena Waithe, and Geico and Attn just launched a third season of its digital content series “How It’s Done” featuring "Catfish’s" Nev Schulman.
“By working with Attn to develop and refine our brand persona on TikTok, we will be able to better interact with a highly engaged group of skin care enthusiasts in the most relevant way possible,” says Denny Downs, chief marketing officer at Unilever’s Murad Skincare.
Crouthers did not reveal pricing for specific offerings, but said some brands are spending six-figures while others are paying seven-figures, depending on what services they require. In 2021, TikTok will account for more than 10% of the media company’s revenue, she says.
“Right now brands are realizing they need to be on TikTok but it is a unique environment,” says Crouthers. “There are so many nuances to the platform. Even just the way people are engaging with the content.”
Founded in 2014 by Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno, Attn has always looked to social media platforms, where it currently has more than 18 million followers, as a key driver for growth and engagement, both as a publisher and as a content studio for brands.
As audiences’ tastes have changed, and with the emergence of a new generation of social media users, Attn has had to adapt to the ever-changing lifecycles of platforms. In the past few years, the company has diversified away from being Facebook-first and added new services like creating content for TV shows. Still, Attn continues to publish editorially and create content in partnership with brands across all platforms. It also works with networks and streaming services like ABC, NBC, MTV and Hulu.
The media company will bring its own expertise as a publisher on the platform to develop content for brands that brings value. Crouthers believes its Attn’s publisher experience that would bring a brand looking for TikTok help to Attn, rather than to seek out an ad agency or do everything in-house. “There are very few agencies that are able to be in the position Attn is, since we have learned as being a publisher on the channel,” she says. “You really need to be living and breathing the platform as a content creator in order for it to be authentic.”
Since launching on the platform in May 2020, Attn now has more than 508,000 TikTok followers and sees an average of 800,000 views on its videos which satisfy Attn’s unique content offering: Entertaining videos that range from takes on complicated social issues, such as society’s ignorance about the Civil War and ways to stop harassment, to lighter fare such as topics like whether weed is good for waistlines and why people should not drink the water on airplanes. “Entertainment that informs” is the publication’s tagline.
Attn can also tout TikTok itself as a client, and plans to bring its learnings from working with the platform to help its own clients. In April 2021, Attn struck a 7-figure deal with TikTok to produce videos about social change on topics like environmentalism and animal welfare for a new “TikTok for Good” channel, which has garnered 112,400 followers and 1.8 million likes.
The TikTok Studio is currently made up of 20 of the company’s little more than 100 employees, but the company is also hiring for creative producers to create content for both its own TikTok and for brand partners and appropriately, is using TikTok to recruit. On Monday, the company posted a recruitment video to its TikTok channel asking for creators to apply.