How Mtn Dew, Hyundai and Chipotle are weaving TikTok into Super Bowl advertising
Mtn Dew, Hyundai, Chipotle and other brands are flooding TikTok for the Super Bowl, making the Chinese-based app the latest social media craze to attract marketers around the advertising event of the year.
The big-name brands are competing for the attention of the musical video app’s young audience in the week leading up to the Big Game and on gameday. Mtn Dew already claims that its campaign has generated 240 million impressions—a staggering number, even if the exact value of a TikTok impression is unclear.
Mtn Dew is promoting its Super Bowl commercial that was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” TikTok users are being encouraged to use a “branded effect” that renders a twin of the person in the video, a nod to the cursed twins in the movie. There’s also a hashtag “BetterThanTheOG,” which ties into the launch of a new version of the soft drink.
“We’re the first CPG brand to create an effect on TikTok,” says Erin Chin, senior director of marketing at Mtn Dew. The special effect acts like a mirror, cloning the person in the video.
Also, since it is TikTok, there is a dancing component. “We had our own track produced, hired a choreographer to help determine what that choreography should look like, and then worked with TikTok to come up with ideas to bring the campaign to life,” Chin says.
Mtn Dew will also advertise on Snapchat with a Sponsored Lens, an augmented reality filter that uses "face-swapping" technology, Chin says.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance Technologies, a Chinese-based internet company, and the app is the first overseas social media platform to take off in the U.S. The app has more than 800 million monthly users worldwide, and more than 30 million in the U.S., according to marketing material obtained by Ad Age last year. (It has undoubtedly grown since then, too.)
Brands have been jumping on social media trends for years to push their Super Bowl advertising. Twitter broke out as a capable marketing machine thanks to moments like Oreo’s now-famous “dunk in the dark” in 2013, a tweet that resonated during a blackout at the game. The way the brand crafted a quick response to such a breaking event, it became a template for marketers to follow.
In 2016, Gatorade was the first brand to buy a Snapchat Lens. The filter dumped virtual Gatorade on people’s heads in selfie videos. Snapchat, which was still a nascent player in digital advertising at the time, said the filter garnered 165 million impressions.
Now, TikTok is trying to push its way into the Super Bowl lineup. TikTok worked with the NFL for the first time this year, helping the league and teams create official accounts.
And TikTok even plans to run an ad during the stream of the Super Bowl on FoxSports.com. The 30-second commercial has the tag line “Make Your Day.”
“The ad showcases the fandom that surrounds the big game and invites fans to join the TikTok community as they cheer or cry for their favorite teams,” the company said in a statement. The announcement also touts the campaigns from Hyundai, Mtn Dew, Chipotle, and TurboTax. The tax brand is hoping to spark a dance craze around its Super Bowl commercial and its song “All People Are Tax People.”
Hyundai is the first automaker to run a paid ad campaign on TikTok, according to the company. Hyundai has shot video ads for TikTok that feature the star of its Super Bowl commercial, Rachel Dratch. The Super Bowl ad jokes about Boston accents and a new “smart park” feature. In Boston, that’s “smaht pahk.”
The TikTok component taps into a meme called “one day after.” In this case, Dratch shows how, one day after returning to Boston, her accent gets thicker.
“Our approach was to develop content specifically for the platform and embrace one of its more popular memes,” says Monique Kumpis, Hyundai’s senior group manager of brand marketing and advertising.
Meanwhile, Chipotle will be on TikTok during the game, working with a roster of the app’s most popular talent, including Zach King and David Dobrik. These are so-called TikTok influencers, the stars of the service with the biggest fanbases. TikTok has been building its “influencer marketing” business, similar to rivals like Instagram and YouTube, offering to connect brands with talent.
Chipotle plans a “TikTok Timeout” campaign, which means it will promote videos during timeouts throughout the game. “Chipotle will curate a Big Game ad campaign on TikTok that will compete with traditional advertisements for viewers’ attention,” the company said in its announcement on Thursday.
Chipotle is using Justin Bieber’s new song “Yummy” in the videos and is promoting the hashtag “TikTokTimeout.”
The brands would not disclose how much money they are spending on TikTok for their Super Bowl campaigns. But they all are employing different strategies that showcase the platform’s multiple options for marketing. In Hyundai’s case, there will be traditional paid video ads. Chipotle is tapping into the influencer network, while Mtn Dew has created a special effect.
They all have hashtags and are looking to capitalize on the popularity of different memes familiar to users of the app. The next step is to figure out if TikTok marketing works. Mtn Dew says it already has seen 130,000 videos using its hashtag, which led to the 240 million impressions.
By way of comparison, Ubisoft ran a campaign on TikTok last year with the hashtag “JustDanceMoves.” It generated 105,000 videos with 100 million video views, according to TikTok’s marketing materials.
“We’re blowing through all the benchmarks that TikTok has given us,” says Chin from Mtn Dew. “We have a robust analytics department at PepsiCo and we look at evaluating media investments after the fact. This will definitely be something we will evaluate and quantify.”
Meanwhile, it appears Sabra might have a role in its Super Bowl campaign for Charli D'Amelio, the 15-year-old TikTok star who got her big break on the app. The brand hasn't released its official ad yet, but D'Amelio has shared videos showing her participation. It's unclear as yet if she will take a starring turn in the official gametime ad.