Credit by Robert Williams
Retail brand Uniqlo launched a campaign that challenges users of social video app TikTok to post videos of themselves wearing their favorite Uniqlo outfits, per an announcement. Winning videos will have a chance to appear on video screens at stores and on the brand's social media accounts.
Contestants must wear an outfit from Uniqlo's 2019 spring and summer collection and film a video of themselves with a specially made #UTPlayYourWorld music track. After posting a public video with that hashtag, they can follow the @uniqlo.tiktok account on TikTok to receive notification of winning.
The contest is open to TikTok creators in the U.S., France, Japan and Taiwan. The deadline for submitting a video is July 11, and winners will be announced between July 12 and 19.
Uniqlo's #UTPlayYourWorld on contest on TikTok is well-suited for the social video app, whose audience mostly consists of mobile-savvy people under age 30. The app's viral power comes from a feature that urges its users to collaborate on making and sharing videos. Content developed for TikTok has gone viral beyond the platform and generated millions of views on rivals like Twitter and Instagram.
The word "addictive" is frequently used in press reports to describe TikTok, whose average user session lasts about nine minutes, far ahead of rival social apps like Reddit (5.6 minutes), Pinterest (5.3 minutes), Facebook (5 minutes) and Tumblr (4.1 minutes), according to Statista data. TikTok claims that its users open the app eight times a day, making it an attractive target for mobile marketers that are looking to engage Gen Z consumers.
Uniqlo's campaign is another sign that TikTok is gaining attention among brands that either host contests on the app or run paid sponsorships. Chipotle Mexican Grill generated 110,000 video submissions and 104 million video starts in the first week of a "lid-flipping" challenge on TikTok. Denim brand Guess last year ran a branded hashtag challenge on the app, and food-delivery service GrubHub hosted a takeover ad campaign on TikTok in February.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, last year was one of the few apps not owned by Facebook or Google that topped the rankings of non-game downloads worldwide, a Sensor Tower report found.
A key challenge for TikTok will be monetizing an audience that mostly consists of teenagers using the free app. While teens may influence the purchase decisions of their parents, they also have notoriously fickle tastes. Musically, which ByteDance acquired in 2017 for a reported $800 million to $1 billionand last year merged with TikTok, also was a huge hit among U.S. teens but gained little advertiser traction.
Brands are still cautious about the safety of TikTok amid accusations of violating children's privacy and showing "objectionable" content. TikTok now restricts downloads for kids under 13 as part of a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Still, TikTok continues to make moves into the marketing world. The company this month made its first appearance at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to expand its global marketing efforts beyond the handful of early sponsors that have tested it out.
TikTok also ramped up hiring to gain greater ad-sales expertise in more regions. Key hires this year include Facebook's former VP of Global Partnerships Blake Chandlee as VP of business strategy in the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and Vanessa Pappas, YouTube's former global head of creative insights, as the first U.S. general manager.