What brands get wrong about campaigns on Tik-Tok: Norio Ichikawa at Mumbrella360 Asia

In response to a question from an audience member at Mumbrella 360 Asia in Singapore, on what the brands that fail on TikTok are getting wrong, TikTok Ads X design centre creative director Norio Ichikawa had an answer – dancing does not work all the time. 

The surging popularity of TikTok was drawing brands to it, to sponsor or be a part of various ongoing ‘challenges’. But at least some of these brands were getting sidetracked by the superficial. 

Ichikawa said: “One of the problems is that companies see people dancing and so assume that’s all there is to it. They keep adding dancing and that does not always work. 

“Users are smart and they get tired. They want to see something different and so you need to be on top of trend, to be successful.”

Another common reason for failure was a problem that had existed long before TikTok but persists on the platform as well. Ichikawa said: “Brands sometimes create something that really looks fun to do but leaves the audience with no idea about the company it is from or what the message is.”

Through the course of his session, Ichikawa introduced the audience to TikTok and spent a considerable amount of time explaining why it fills a niche that is currently being ignored by most other social media.

He said: “We are bringing in the ‘I don’t tick a box generation’. When you start labelling, it gets trite and outdated.   

“Our community wants to show its real self and does not care about a few flaws being exposed. It is raw, authentic, creative self expression. In other platforms, there is editing and colour correcting – it is so perfect, it doesn’t feel real.” 

The difference manifested into the essential shape that the social network had assumed, compared with its peers. Ichikawa said: “We are not about social graphs but content graphs. If you have very engaging content, that gets spread instead of people following users.” 

He also believed TikTok represented a fundamental change in demand drivers. He said: “Needs and wants have become irrelevant. We have to find different ways to cut the clutter and it is WTF.”

Explaining that it was not the WTF that most audience members were thinking and said: “Wish – empowering people who desire to make the world better and to spread positive messages; Try – enabling people to make an effort or try something new and Fun – enabling people to have a good time.”


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