- TikTok launched a U.S. advertising campaign to show how the social media app affects "every facet of culture" as it faces a government ban because of national security concerns. The "It Starts on TikTok" campaign will run in the U.S. until Oct. 12, per an announcement.
- The effort includes a 30-second spot that shows people dancing and joining the "wipe it down challenge" of wiping a mirror to change into a different outfit. The campaign will also include spots that are 15 seconds long, matching the time limit of most TikTok videos.
- TikTok's ads will run on TV networks including ABC, ESPN, NBC and TNT; streaming platforms such as Hulu and Spotify, radio broadcasters like iHeartMedia; social media; and digital-out-of-home, Variety reported. TikTok next month will expand the campaign to global markets such as the U.K., Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
TikTok's first national advertising campaign showcases heartwarming videos of people having fun with the app, as the platform seeks to inspire public support amid the threat of being banned in the U.S. because of national security concerns about its ownership by a Chinese company.
The Trump administration's threat of a ban on TikTok hasn't been met with any meaningful political opposition, and most people favor of the idea. About three quarters (76%) of Americans support the ban in some form, including 61% of frequent TikTok users, according to a survey of 900 consumers by agency Horizon Media.
Almost two-thirds (62%) of Americans don't trust TikTok to secure their data, making it the least trustworthy among social media apps including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Seventy-two percent of people ages 18 to 34 say TikTok should be owned by a U.S. company, the survey found.
TikTok's campaign comes as its Chinese parent company ByteDance negotiates the sale of TikTok's U.S. operations before the ban takes effect. President Trump late last week issued an executive order demanding ByteDance divest TikTok's U.S. operations by Nov. 12. U.S. software giants Microsoft and Oracle are in talks to buy parts of TikTok, which has emerged in the past couple of years as a popular social media app among Gen Z.
Horizon's study also found reason for brands to be optimistic about the acquisition of its U.S. operations by an American company like Microsoft. Eighty percent of U.S. adults say Microsoft is trustworthy with data, comparable to Netflix, but only 29% would be prouder to use brands that advertise on TikTok if were owned by a U.S. company.
"Brands who are already tapping into TikTok may not need to worry about negative consequences of the potential ban," according to Horizon, "and in fact, it may be a good time for brands who want to reach younger consumers to dip their toe in if they haven’t used, or advertised on, TikTok already."
However, because TikTok is an experimental ad platform in the U.S., mobile marketers may shrug off a ban and shift their ad spending to other media outlets that quickly fill the small — but growing — void left by the app.
TikTok almost doubled its U.S. user base to 52.2 million from October to March as people used social media apps more often during the coronavirus pandemic, researcher eMarketer estimated. That growth is inviting to potential acquirers seeking to carve out a bigger slice of the digital ad market dominated by Google and Facebook, which likely would be prevented from buying TikTok's U.S. operations amid antitrust scrutiny by federal and state officials.