- E.l.f. Cosmetics and GT's Kombucha drove billions of views on social video app TikTok with branded hashtag challenges. The brands this week announced campaign results in separate announcements.
- E.l.f's #elfMagicAct challenge asked TikTok users to post videos of themselves being magically transformed by its Poreless Putty Primer for a chance to win the product, per an announcement. Since July 22, E.l.f. has racked up 1.7 billion views for the challenge that featured six beauty influencers on TikTok.
- GT's Kombucha, the fermented drink marketed by GT's Living Foods, on July 16 started its first TikTok campaign with the #UnitedWeDance challenge that urged people to create dance videos for a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles and receive a year's supply of Synergy Kombucha. The dance challenge inspired more than 164,000 videos in its first two weeks, and generated more than 3 billion views.
The branded hashtag challenges from E.l.f. Cosmetics and GT's Kombucha have several similarities, like the use of original music, that demonstrate how brands can generate massive publicity on TikTok, the social video app that has become a worldwide sensation in the past few years. Both campaigns offer prizes to TikTok users who participate in the challenge, giving them an incentive to create and share videos with their friends and followers. Such sharing spurs organic growth as other TikTok users see those videos and join in, extending the campaign's reach.
E.l.f. and GT's Kombucha also recruited social influencers to help publicize the challenges and get them off the ground. E.l.f. enlisted six beauty influencers whose videos are marked with an "official" tag indicating that they're sponsored, while GT's Kombucha has 13 influencers including Josh Killacky, Katja Glieson and Jean-Victor Mackie. By enlisting influencers in their hashtag challenges, the brands boosted their reach among younger consumers who use TikTok and whose opinions are shaped by social media celebrities. Almost two-thirds (61%) of people ages 18 to 34 said influencers have shaped their decision-making at some point, a survey by Econsultancy found.
While GT's Kombucha is a newcomer to TikTok, E.l.f. has developed a winning formula to consistently generate awareness and engagement on the app, which is owned by China's ByteDance. Working with creative agency Movers+Shakers, E.l.f. on several campaigns has recorded original music that people can use as soundtracks for their videos. E.l.f. in October launched its first hashtag challenge on TikTok that urged people to share videos, a successful campaign that led to its return in March with a remixed version of the original song. The brand followed that effort in May with a dance challenge for another product, a sign that TikTok is helping to reach its target audience with participatory efforts. E.l.f. Cosmetics experienced a 60% increase in ad recall and 10% lift in brand awareness with a campaign that included Snapchat, Pinterest and TikTok as new channels, per a recent case study.
E.l.f. and GT's Kombucha branded hashtag challenges can help to reach TikTok's growing U.S. audience, which jumped 48% to 52.2 million unique users during the first three months of 2020 as pandemic lockdowns went into effect, according to Comscore data cited by eMarketer. However, TikTok has become more controversial in recent weeks with the Trump administration's repeated threats to ban the app amid growing political tensions between the U.S. and China. The administration faces possible backlash for banning a popular app, but it may have other ways to hamstring TikTok because of national security concerns, the Wall Street Journal reported.