- JanSport, the maker of backpacks and collegiate apparel, is running a hashtag challenge on viral video app TikTok to raise awareness for a charity group helping students affected by the coronavirus pandemic, per an announcement.
- To participate in the challenge, TikTok users can make a video of themselves grabbing their backpacks from the left of frame and emptying out their belongings, such as books and laptops. After that, they need to hand off their empty backpack to the left — creating the effect that they're giving it to another TikTok user in a chain of videos. JanSport is asking people to pair their videos with singer Greyson Chance's "Seasons Nineteen."
- JanSport also plans to donate 10,000 backpacks to World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that helps people struggling with hunger and poverty. The group will fill the backpacks with food and deliver them to students in Los Angeles and Oakland, California, per the announcement. The VF Corp. brand is working with JUV Consulting, a youth-focused think tank, on the #UnpackThatChallenge campaign.
JanSport's hashtag challenge on TikTok aims to harness the app's social-sharing power to raise awareness about the plight of some students during the coronavirus pandemic. As charity groups fear that the outbreak will hurt their fundraising efforts, JanSport seeks to help World Central Kitchen in its mission of providing food to students who are most vulnerable to the financial consequences of the outbreak. By asking TikTok users to create a video chain with the app's "Duets" feature, JanSport can amplify the power of its efforts to spread that message even as people are stuck indoors.
The public awareness campaign is a novel use of TikTok, which many brands have used in campaigns that urge people to participate in sharing videos. Before the coronavirus pandemic upended people's lives, campaigns on TikTok were generally characterized by their fun and frivolous themes that appealed to young people. TikTok was downloaded an estimated 1.65 billion times in the first year and a half since its introduction in mid-2018, luring interest from advertisers including American Eagle Outfitters, Chipotle, Ralph Lauren, Uniqlo and Walmart.
JanSport's campaign is another sign of how brands are changing their messaging as the pandemic spurs tremendous hardship among people who worry about their health and the deteriorating economy. Brands are adopting a more serious tone that emphasizes their commitment to helping others during a major public crisis. Nike, for example, this month started offering its video workouts free of charge as people stay indoors to avoid infection and transmission, while Hyundai and Toyota quickly edited planned ads to show support for both employees and customers. These changes come as 43% of people surveyed by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) say they want to see messaging that's reassuring from trusted brands.