Prasad Sangameshwaran
Jun 26, 2019

How the TikTok activists are disrupting entertainment

Stefan Heinrich, marketing director, US, TikTok and two of the content creators on the platform, Anna O'Brien and Andrea Okeke speak about the need for authenticity on the TikTok platform as the Gen Z is watching everything

(L-R)Andrea Okeke, Anna O'Brien and Stefan Heinrich
(L-R)Andrea Okeke, Anna O'Brien and Stefan Heinrich
We might be talking about dwindling attention spans in the Internet age, but as more and more studies show, consumers are picking up more information in a short span of time. Especially, if they happen to be the Gen-Z. 
In a power packed session at Cannes Lions that concluded last week, the marketing director of TikTok US and two content creators from the platform took centrestage to speak about 'how activists are disrupting entertainment' and how the way we access consume and engage with entertainment is changing.
O'Brien said, "If people watch skip or scroll, the content has to be authentic. What can we as marketers and creators do in branded content? Authenticity is winning. See the world change and not conform to standards."
We might be talking about dwindling attention spans, but Okeke added that the Gen Z looks at everything. "They are like detectives. They see everything, they are hyper focused," she said and added that for content creators like herself it meant that, "the attention to detail is increasing. Not one storyline, but multiple storylines on top of each other".
She also said that more youngsters gravitated towards platforms as they found it relaxing. 
Okeke said that the trend was increasingly moving towards imperfection. "Imperfections has become the new perfection. In content creation, we try things, but does it always work out? I am a real human being. I make mistakes," she said.
A heartening insight into social media behaviour on the platform was that when creators are faced with negative comments, Okeke feels that there is a huge community of fans who are willing to stand up for you.
One more advantage was that creators increasingly knew their audience -- sometimes, on a one-one basis. "The wall and the distance has collapsed. We know who is on the other side of the screen," said O'Brien.
O'Brien adds that collaborations often take place with another content creator or brand. Comedy and magic might be very different worlds, but even they come together. The most important thing, according to her, was that platforms like TikTok led people to believe in themselves and their abilities.
She said, "People believe... you can do what you want. The size of the body, the colour of skin, how we live does not matter. We teach kids, they can be what they want to be. The 15 seconds of my life is improving the 24 hours of someone else."
Speaking about the steps brands should take while collaborating with creators, the three panelists struck a common chord. "Let the creators tell stories. When everyone is comfortable with the content, it is probably boring."
Heinrich ended the discussion be pointing out that the platform's instant content discovery is like therapy for a vast majority of its audience. Importantly, he added, "When the community is safe, the brand is safe."
Campaign India