Aishwarya Ramesh
Social Media

TikTok's rewind video is a little different from YouTube's...

As the decade winds to a close, brand TikTok aims to target young users with a different type of 'Rewind' video.

2019 is nearing its end and this is normally the time when YouTube releases its 'Rewind' videos. YouTube's Rewind videos are recap videos of the viral trends that year, visualised by YouTube's most popular content creators. This year, TikTok wants to get in on the fun too. The brand has positioned its #TikTokRewind2019 as a masthead on YouTube.

A screenshot of the banner ad on YouTube
A screenshot of the banner ad on YouTube

As a platform, TikTok is completely driven by user generated content. The rewind video appears to be the brand's way of paying tribute to the most influential users on the platform. The video features the likes of Aawez Darbar, Mridul Madhok and Anmol Bhatia.

The video is a two-minute tribute to the users of the app with subtle messages to future creators as well. The video highlights the different verticals of TikTok under which users create content and encourages new users as well to shed their inhibitions and come on to the platform as a content creator and influencer. The film has a neon vibe to it and looks like it is strategically targeted at Gen Z - the generation that comes after millennials.

To understand the commercial and its intent better, we spoke to Hari Krishnan, executive director of TBWA North and he mentions that he was confused by the way the video was treated. "The treatment of this video is very un-TikTok like. It looks like a TVC made by an ad agency - could be for any brand. TikTok videos are short form, co-created, native and influencer driven. This ad is anything but that," he says.

Hari Krishnan
Hari Krishnan

He adds that while the app has over 120 million active monthly users and has been growing at an explosive rate, this ad isn't targeted at getting new users. "However, it seems to be made to address negative/ downmarket perceptions about the platform - to potential users/ viewers who are avoiders, as well as the advertiser community. Perhaps that explains the clean, well-produced look and feel," he concludes.

Abhishek Ragoowanshi, account director at FoxyMoron points out that TikTok as an app is pure entertainment for the ones consuming it and is an aspirational platform for the ones who are creating content on it. "The video treatment falls in the same space of entertainment and aspirational which is inspired by the kind of videos that are made by other brands like Nike's Da Da Ding to target the Genz and Millennials. The video has the peppy track playing with vibrant colors giving the feel of you wanting to consume the video. The TG that consumes the content on TikTok will enjoy it as it falls in the space of where TikTok wants to be," he says.

Abhishek Ragoowanshi
Abhishek Ragoowanshi

Ragoowanshi further explains that Youtube's focus on rewind videos every year has been to capture the trends or the most viral videos in the year. Essentially, its a recap of all the viral content we have seen or missed in the past year and is relatable to the ones who consume the videos on YT. "The audience on TIkTok is different, with this video where the focus is on the aspirational content creators on the platform who have grown in the past year so the word rewind for them is coming for there. As said before the platform is for the ones who are aspirational and who have the talent to create such creative videos just using the features available on the app which is also covered in the video. Having said that it would be great to also see the creator's creativity that made them big to have more impact on conveying the message that the app, similar to what they created on the international channel," he adds.

Typically, a hashtag challenge is an area of the app where a brand can monetise the eyeballs on a piece of UGC. Ragoowanshi points out that the Rewind video's purpose was not to focus on these challenges - but to focus on the creators themselves. This is so that the app could bring forth the different creators on the platform and the ways in which brands can leverage them to increase awareness.

"TikTok is the next big thing in terms of Social Media platforms in India and all brands targeting the Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities want to be on the platform as the audience is consuming content on the platform heavily. As of today the app is installed on 30 per cent of smartphones in India (as per the research by KalaGato) and I am not surprised because their strategy clearly states they want to keep up with Mobile penetration that is increasing day by day in India. From here on, this number is only going to increase as TikTok is giving the aspirational audience a platform where their creativity has no bar, since one can create anything they imagine using the app itself.

He adds that this helps users avoid a number of obstacles they would face having to make original content for other platforms like Instagram. "The ones consuming content on the platform have everything that is related to entertainment, education, fitness, news, sports, cooking, etc all in a short and vertical format on one platform. So yes, it's a bid to get more users to come on the app and create original content as a minimum cost," concludes Ragoowanshi.

Earlier this year, TikTok integrated with Bollywood film Bala. The film focuses on a balding Bala - a fairness cream salesman in his mid-20s who harbours a crush on TikTok influencer Pari Mishra. In the movie, they are seen making TikTok videos together, with zoomed in (and out) shots of the social media app. During this video-making time, the app occupies the screen — with an increasing likes counter and perfectly placed hashtags — for not less than 15 minutes and keeps reappearing here and there until the court finally declares their 'one-day-long wedding' annulled.

A still from Bala.
A still from Bala.

TikTok has also been actively trying to draw attention to the EduTok and Fitness verticals of the app with its user generated content push. The campaigns range from topics like mental health awareness to health and fitness related lifestyle videos.