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System1: How did TikTok inspiration work its way into Super Bowl LVII ads?

By Jon Evans. While many debated whether TikTok influencers would outshine celebrities in this year’s Super Bowl, perhaps the question should instead have focused on whether the platform’s influence would seep into game day creative. TikTok itself didn’t drop an ad, but that didn’t stop a few brands from either taking inspiration from viral short-form videos or building TikTok culture into their scripts.

Bud Light followed the former approach. In 2020, Opus No. 1, a popular composition for hold music, was the inspiration behind thousands of videos on the platform that featured users dancing and enjoying the unique song while dealing with a seemingly unavoidable and inconvenient part of daily life. In Bud Light’s “Hold” actor Miles Teller and his wife Keleigh Sperry jump in on the trend, with a beer in hand of course. It’s an unusual but very successful beer ad focusing on a fun, romantic moment that scored 4.1-Stars on our scale from 1 to 5.9-Stars.

Kia meanwhile follows the latter strategy with its “Binky Dad” ad. A bystander coins the hashtag BinkyDad, which takes off as people follow to see whether the forgetful father can redeem himself. TikTok is a platform that has elevated many ordinary people to internet celebrity status and this ad showcases just how easily that can happen and when you least expect it.

Perhaps the more unexpected execution was YouTube’s ad, which dug deep into its archives. The video platform brought back the massively popular Bento the Keyboard Cat. Cultural references and nostalgia proved to be an effective strategy, with Kia’s ad scoring 3.8-Stars and YouTube getting 3.4-Stars.

As the Super Bowl demographic keeps changing, we’d expect to see more TikTok influence breaking into ads.

Jon Evans is chief customer officer, System1.

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