Ah, TikTok: how should we best describe it? The unhinged hub where Gen Zs come to flourish, laugh, shitpost, and overshare? A digital time capsule of the coping mechanisms teenagers and twenty-somethings developed at the start of stay-at-home orders? That Chinese-owned app that the Trump administration has threatened to ban three separate times?
It’s all of the above. Since the video-sharing app launched in 2016, it has amassed over 800 million active users worldwide, 41% of which are aged 16-24. The app’s popularity surged within this demographic when almost the entire generation was sent home from school during the start of the pandemic. With nothing to do in quarantine, Gen Z took to viral dance routines, day-in-the-life videos, and random quarantine clips making fun of parents for suggesting an obscene amount of daily walks. Six months after quarantine began, the app has developed into a home for all things Gen Z.
With an entire generation setting up camp on one app, it feels like a ripe market of eager young consumers was packaged with a bow and dropped into the laps of any fashion brand looking to cash in. Everyone from Prada to Gucci has tried to take advantage of TikTok’s marketing opportunities, but who’s doing it right and who’s doing it wrong?
Many high fashion houses have joined TikTok, but their presence on the app isn’t as constant as it is on Instagram, and neither is their engagement. Givenchy posted their first TikTok in May, but their account has 4,000 followers while their Instagram account has 14.1 million. Miu Miu falls in a similar boat with 12,000: 7.6 million TikTok-Instagram follower ratio. Prada has almost 160,000 followers, but comments on their TikToks have never even hit triple digits.
If there’s one core reason why luxury houses haven’t met their hungry consumer matches on TikTok yet, it’s the fact that their content sticks out like a sore thumb on the app. Their high-quality, commercial-like videos are works of art surrounded by spontaneous, unedited teenage rants. TikTok feels relatable and comfortable because of its low production value and invisible barrier to entry. It’s not that luxury houses aren’t producing admirable content; it’s that teenage TikTokers aren’t looking to ooh and ah, they’re looking to laugh, feel seen, and waste time.
Despite posting a few commercial-like clips for new product releases and campaigns, Gucci only garnered buzz on the app indirectly after a user made her own video instructing others on “dressing like a Gucci model.” 21-year-old Morgan Presley poked fun at Gucci’s highly accessorized and layered runway looks giving a step-by-step guide to recreating the looks at home with your own clothing.
“First up, you need a random turtleneck. Make it colorful,” Presley says. “And then some random shirt that doesn’t match it. And then a random vest. Layering is important.”
Other users began using Presley’s sound to create their own videos, and soon Gucci began re-posting people’s videos under the hashtag #GucciModelChallenge. The hashtag has garnered almost 50 million views. Other hashtags the brand account has used, like #GucciTennis1997 to promote a sneaker drop and #GucciFW20 to promote a runway show, never surpassed 2 million.
Gucci found success by letting younger consumers lead the way on their own turf. The brand marketed itself by making fun of itself, and isn’t that how most creators are gaining an audience on TikTok today, with self-deprecating humor that fosters connection rather than untouchable super-stardom?
It’s nothing new that luxury brands rooted in historical house codes catch the second wave of newer trends, but why? Do they struggle to understand the younger market, or do they not care to? Many houses can certainly afford to maintain the latter attitude, so why even bother to allocate resources towards a TikTok presence?
Luxury houses can decide whether or not they want to bring high fashion to TikTok. One thing is non-negotiable, though: they’re going to have to meet Gen Z where they are, on the Internet generation’s terms.END
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createdAt:Thu, 22 Oct 2020 01:13:58 +0000
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