TikTok is celebrating its first truly viral trend of 2021, the unexpected rise of the sea shanty, in a new TV ad running in the U.K.
In another example of the social platform jumping on users who have unwittingly become viral superstars recently (like Nathan Apodoca, who became so famous he featured in the inauguration virtual parade), the spot features Scottish mail carrier, another "Nathan," it so happens, but with the last name Evans. His TikTok rendition of "The Wellerman," a popular whaling song that originated in New Zealand, has been viewed over seven million times, and the ad shows how users have added their personal touch by layering harmonies, instruments and beats on top. (Evans, in the meantime, just landed a record deal.)
The "#SeaShanty" spot is being aired on mainstream TV channels Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and BT Sports. It was created by VaynerMedia, which was appointed to work with TikTok in September, within four days of briefing.
"Who would have thought we would have started 2021 in the U.K. belting out sea shanties? This is the power of TikTok as it brings joy, entertainment and humor to millions," said James Rothwell, head of marketing in Europe for TikTok, in a statement. "We’re humbled every day by our amazing community that is both creating and sharing these incredible moments, trends that are truly shaping culture. We love to celebrate our creators and the impact they have, and Nathan is no different. I’m so proud of the effort by TikTok’s incredible marketing team to turn around this creative ad campaign so quickly."