TikTok: A Global Marketing Platform with Staying Power

October 18, 2022
Viral TikTok Recipes

In a digital landscape where trends are measured in days or even hours, Tik Tok has become a global platform that has demonstrated both meteoric growth and staying power. With more than one billion monthly active users, Tik Tok is now the seventh-most popular social media platform, ahead of others that have been around much longer including Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter.

In the food sector, the flashy, funny and sometimes downright bizarre world of TikTok recipe fads has everything to teach us about how to capture attention for your brand in fun and memorable ways. Many of the traits that set these videos apart are equally powerful when applied in a more traditional branding or campaign context.

So, whether you’re targeting an audience on TikTok, on TV or anywhere in between, keep in mind that the biggest “Big Ideas” often share a few key qualities:

Radically Simple

Turns out you can make almost anything using just three ingredients, or in one bowl, or on a sheet pan. Simplicity is the common thread that runs through all of these umbrella trends, which encompass everything from cookies to casseroles to entire Thanksgiving dinners. Given that time and brainspace are among the scarcest commodities of most consumers, it’s no wonder the strongest ideas are those that can be taken in (or whipped up) almost instantly with minimal effort.

Clever without Complication

In advertising, “clever” can be a dangerous game to play. Done right, it commands attention and builds relationships in fractions of a second. Done wrong, it’s just confusing. The TikTok algorithm leaves no time for confusion, so recipes that break through are shining examples of clever done right. Case in point: baked pancakes. This smart solution to the inconvenience of standing at the stove while flipping ‘cakes is just the right flavor of clever to catch on fast.

Unexpected but Familiar

The world of TikTok recipes is loaded with this-used-as-that. Pasta is transformed into chips, spinach turns into pasta, and corn turns into ribs. What all these have in common is a genuinely surprising reinvention of common everyday food items. The magic here lies in accessibility; there are no novel ingredients or even new ideas to understand — just a fun, funky mashup of ingredients and ideas you already know and love. The lesson to marketers: sometimes the biggest new ideas are those that play in creative ways with popular old ones.

Gimmicky in the Best Possible Way

Let’s talk about the tortilla fold hack that drove the internet wild a few seasons ago. Or how about baked feta pasta? These fads have all the best aspects of gimmicky appeal: they’re novel yet instantly understandable, with a magic-trick flair that sets them apart from standard quick-and-easy dishes. Marketers should take these recipes’ success as proof that gimmicky tricks can indeed succeed — but only when backed by tasty substance.

On-Trend with a Twist

Does the world need another whipped coffee? Maybe not. But it does need whipped hot cocoa, whipped lemonade and whipped matcha. Riding hot trends is marketing 101, but these success stories remind us of the all-important line between boring duplication and clever interpretation.

At Wilks Communication Group, we work at the intersection of cutting-edge trends and time-tested marketing wisdom. We’d love to be part of your next Big Idea. Contact us to get the conversation started.


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