Due to the current debate about TikTok and its potential misuse for spying purposes, countless TikTok fans are expressing their concern on TV. And my generation should not make fun of young people’s despair at the thought of a possible TikTok ban. Many of my peers would have felt similarly in the past if they had been deprived of Bravo magazine.
I first got to know TikTok as a platform for dance videos – and was impressed by all the “hip” elementary school teachers dancing around the classroom with cool moves together with their classes. In recent years, however, TikTok’s repertoire seems to have expanded. Yesterday, for example, on a news program on Dutch television, I saw an interview with an amateur cook who does cooking clips on TikTok. (The sort of movies where a person cuts a cucumber while explaining that they are cutting a cucumber). The young woman told viewers she has 229,000 followers on TikTok and “even makes a little money from it.”
When I hear or read such things, I always wonder how that works. I imagine that once the cucumber-slicing lady has passed the 200,000-follower mark, she gets contacted by – let’s say – a salad dressing manufacturer. And they – or rather someone from their marketing department – then say: “This is the deal: If you put our salad dressing bottle in view in your films and use the dressing in your menu (and praise the taste accordingly) you get XXXXX from us.” And if it really works that way, how does that resonate with her audience that she keeps coming back to the sauce? And what happens at the point where followers think “For heaven’s sake shut up about that bloody sauce!” ?
I myself have published some time ago on the Harlekin.blog posts about the croquettes and bitterballen popular in the Netherlands. How many followers would I have to have for the market-leading Dutch croquette producer to promise me free croquettes for the rest of my life if I regularly praised their product? We certainly still have room for improvement here at Harlequin, because no one has contacted me yet. And what would you, dear readers, think of my constantly bringing up the subject of croquettes? At some point you would surely smell a rat and suspect a certain self-interest?
So an appeal to all salad dressing manufacturers: if anyone can help me out and explain exactly how this works with product placement with influencers, we’ll publish the interview on the Harlequin blog. And we’ll try your sauce and write honestly about how we liked it. – Really!
Original text: BBR
English translation: BCO