Starting this blog I promised myself I’d use it to spread positivity and examples that inspire and motivate readers to do better and more. But there are some exceptions. 🙂 Hilton’s 10 minute TikTok ad has been all over media, filled with so much praise, that it actually makes me wonder, is it all paid PR or I’m missing something. So I had to share my thoughts.
I’m writing this not only as a marketer, but also as an addicted (not so proud) TikTik user who spends (again, not so proudly) an average of 3 hours per day on this network. My idea is not to spread negativity but to point out what could and should be done better next time, hoping that in the future, other brands can learn from Hilton’s mistakes.
So, let’s get back to the main point, the 10 minute Hilton TikTok video sucks. Yes, I really mean it. It has a very traditional approach to advertising on a platform that is reinventing the way videos and ads are made. It claims to be fresh and groundbreaking, when it’s actually just a classic paid TV ad with a pinch of the trending “new” social network and creators. And there’s a lot more. Take a look at it, and read my comments below:
Didn’t have the attention to finish it? Yeah, me neither. Here are some of the reasons I believe why:
Lines between cringe and meta-cringe have always been blurry, especially on TikTok, but this video has nothing meta to it (even though the main protagonists try to say that it’s sooo meta). It all seems way too scripted, and even the content creators who are known for the scripted videos failed to make a great transition from personal to branded content. The humor is forced, the acting seems stiff and even if it’s the first time seeing a video from some of these creators I believe you can feel it doesn’t seem genuine.
The influencers / content creators
This is where it hits the worst. They are all great, great content creators. I’ve spent hours watching and loving the ideas of Girlbosstown, hours laughing at Bomanizer jokes, and really love the content of the other chosen influencers, but in the video, they’re in an environment that just doesn’t seem natural or comfortable to them. They seem like they’re trying too hard and pushing too hard to sell (which is a big NO on TikTok), it’s way too Hilton-y, and again, just saying something is meta, doesn’t allow you to fill the screen with a ridiculous number of logos and sell every single thing the menu has to offer.
I really believe that Hilton have chosen a great group of creators, but pushed way too hard with the “sell it” agenda. Just for comparison, this is a post that one of the creators made on his own profile for Hilton. It’s so much more organic, it has his voice, it has his stories, but it still sells in the end. So yes, it can be done more subtly and still reach results.
There was also a big fuss about the number of views the video received. 35.7 million is a big number, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. DuoLingo and RyanAir have been getting millions of views for while now. And more importantly, they’ve been doing it more consistently. If you open Hilton’s TikTok profile today, you will see a few other videos next to the big ad. Their views vary between 3000 to 12.000 views, and we all know TikTok is a platform that demands continuity and consistency. So once again, the traditional approach to marketing (create a big flashy ad, spend a lot of money to promote it and then finish the campaign) is clearly visible.
Lastly, why is it so important to stress that it’s 10 minutes long? Some media put so much emphasis on the TikTok video’s length that it kind of seems as a distractions from the many other mistakes they made in the video. They even claim to give awards and special Hilton points to those who stay with the ad until the end. You wouldn’t need to stress it’s 10 minutes long in any other case, if it was that good, people would watch it without rewards and say time flew by themselves.
It’s not all that bad
Along with all the criticism, I want to give praise where praise is due. It’s really great to see such a big brand giving smaller non-celebrity content creators recognition, and space to be the main characters of their ad. Hilton did a great job showing that content creators deserve to be put in the spotlight and hopefully inspired other less known brands to give content creators new opportunities. It was a great initial idea, I just really hope that the execution is much better next time.
So, in conclusion…
Maybe it’s time we all started listening to the audience and platforms a bit more, and stopped forcing our agendas and ways of work a bit less. It’s great that social networks are driving so much progress and change in the world of video and advertising, I believe we can achieve much greater results if we all try to adapt and upgrade instead of force back and do things the way they’ve “always been done”. Giving more space to content creators to create in their own way, creating content that feels organic and genuine and not forcing direct sales can actually get us all way further than the classic, boring ads.
*read more of my thoughts here.