TikTok is today revealing its 2020 Creative Excellence showcase, featuring some of the most creative UK brand activations that bring to life what 2020 was all about on TikTok for brand marketing.

From brands using TikTok to support local communities through the pandemic, to campaigns that put Creators at their heart, the 2020 Creative Excellence showcase celebrates storytellers that stood out in engaging the TikTok community and bringing them along on their brand journey. These campaigns, though individually unique, all make use of TikTok’s unique and versatile ad formats as well as its diverse Creator community to help brands reach new audiences in new ways.

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Neil Boorman, Head of Creative Lab Europe, TikTok, saidTikTok is unique in that brands are as welcome on our platform as Creators; they aren’t separate to the experience, and the way people interact with brands is unlike anywhere else – a huge number of campaigns using Branded Hashtag Challenges and Branded Effects have seen incredible engagement in 2020. Our community demonstrates boundless creativity every single day, so brands are encouraged to come to it with an open mind and expand their audiences in new ways that’s not possible on any other platforms. The 2020 Creative Excellence showcase is a celebration of the brands that have succeeded in creativity to inspire action and bringing joy to new audiences in a way that’s never been seen before.”

Notable campaigns range from Virgin Media keeping loved ones connected through the lockdown, Mastercard welcoming back the return of football with the world’s largest Mexican wave, Beats By Dr. Dre telling its brand story through music, eBay sharing the untold stories of small business owners across the UK, and ASOS boosting brand cut-through in a competitive ecommerce environment.

Inam Mahmood, Managing Director, Global Business Solutions, UK, TikTok, said: “2020 has brought on momentous challenges for the advertising industry in light of the coronavirus. However, the industry has also demonstrated extraordinary resilience by adapting quickly, shifting focus to new formats and finding new ways to deliver joyful and impactful campaigns in a changed world. Being a relatively new platform, we have been humbled by brands embracing our community in the face of uncertainty, turning to TikTok to not just create new connections with customers in the digital realm, but to drive mass awareness and business growth.” 

To celebrate a momentous year for brands, TikTok have pulled together the 2020 Creative Excellence showcase of the ads that the community has loved, ads that have driven real-world action and ads that most embody our “Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks” creative ethos.

Campaigns and brands supporting communities on TikTok

Virgin Media ‘Stay in love, stay connected’

Love, inclusion and belonging are what really jumped out for Virgin Media’s heartfelt ‘Stay in love, stay connected’ campaign, featuring timeless stories of romantic connections retold in today’s world. From cat selfies, to virtual musical duets, to falling asleep together on a video call – dating is depicted in the era of the “new normal” through a series of real-life inspired snapshots, to the upbeat soundtrack of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘I really like you’. This big bold campaign was perfect for TopView, the very first video that every consumer sees when they open TikTok (our Piccadilly Circus) and when it first ran in September the campaign saw 21.9 million impressions in a single day, with an astonishing engagement rate of over 16%.

See the creative:


Virgin Media took over TopView with face-filters & duets fitting right into the TikTok aesthetic ?? #dontmakeads #virginmedia

♬ original sound – TikTok for Business

Agency: Manning Gottlieb OMD

TikTok celebrates Black History Month with #myroots

After a momentous year, we were determined to celebrate Black History Month UK in a big way. Black History, Black Present and Black Future was a month-long grass-roots campaign made by the Black community for the Black community, built to educate everyone on TikTok, employees, and partners on Black history in the UK. With an aim to shine a light on the different experiences and stories of the Black community, the content was carefully curated to feature the brightest Black talent from across the UK – ranging from Creators and artists such as Cat Burns, Jeremy Lynch and Sherice Barton. Utilising every area of the platform from a high impact Top View to Branded Effects, a Hashtag Challenge which resulted in nearly 288 million views to a series of TikTok LIVE educational events, and we even painted murals in London with Tikcodes that triggered additional campaign content.

See the creative:


Celebrating Black History Month with #myroots @tiktok showed Creative Excellence with a month of Challenges, Lives and OOH placements ???

♬ original sound – TikTok for Business

eBay shining a light on UK small businesses with #StrongerAsOne

eBay launched a campaign to recognise the brilliance of the UK small businesses that operate through its buy-and-sell platform. Enlisting help from Vidsy, one of TikTok’s Marketing Partners, eBay produced a highly emotive video featuring short clips of real small businesses in their day-to-day lives, which saw more than 17.8 million impressions from people upon launching the app. Packing orders, making video calls, and producing their goods, each business owner was shown in their element, giving viewers a real insight into what it’s like to run a small business and celebrating the hard work and dedication of UK entrepreneurs who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The call to action at the bottom of the video had a click-through rate of 17.3%, which successfully pushed hundreds of thousands of users to a landing page where they could discover more about the campaign and explore some of the products on offer.

See the creative: 


@ebay shining a light on UK small businesses with StrongerAsOne, driving sales through Creative Excellence ??????

♬ original sound – TikTok for Business

Marketing Partner: Vidsy

Too Faced celebrates our TikTok community for who they are with #TFBornThisWay

We just loved this campaign from The Estée Lauder Company’s Too Faced brand for its Born This Way Foundation, which worked with a diverse range of TikTok Creators for a Branded Hashtag Challenge called #TFBornThisWay. Too Faced used an augmented reality Branded Effect to celebrate Creators unique and beautiful complexions. Our community, which takes huge pride in its authenticity and celebrating who they really are, responded to this campaign so positively with over 162,000 TikTok users creating more than 456,000 videos for the challenge, resulting in 2 billion views of videos with the #TFBornThisWay hashtag.

See creative from our Creators: 


No one can. Definitely found my match with the @toofaced hazelnut foundation. #TFBornThisWay #thepelofam

♬ Love me Like me – Riley Biederer


Obsessed with @toofaced #tfbornthisway foundation! Its flawless and controls my oil throughout the day! Check out their super cute new filter #ad

♬ Love me Like me – Riley Biederer


Makeup transformation, my skin is looking sooo flawless with the @toofaced #tfbornthisway foundation. Check out the new @toofaced filter ✨?#ad

♬ Love me Like me – Riley Biederer

Campaigns and brands bringing together the best of TikTok

Beats By Dr. Dre #BeatsDaisyChallenge

Celebrating the launch of the new Powerbeats Pro summer colours, Beats By Dr. Dre teamed up with singer, songwriter, and rapper Ashnikko to create a series of challenges inviting the TikTok community to flex their creative muscle. The result was the colourful #BeatsDaisyChallenge campaign embodying everything that makes TikTok unique – creativity, music, community and culture – with Beats truly embracing the platform and adding a fresh spin to connect directly with its target audiences. The results show this was one of the most successful brand campaigns run on TikTok to date, with a huge volume of TikToks created using the hashtag and over 7.1 billion views of the challenge and 460 million engagements.

See the creative:


show me your true colors for a chance to be in my music video! @beatsbydre #BeatsDaisyChallenge

♬ Daisy – Glacier Blue EXPLICIT – Ashnikko

ASOS driving brand cut-through with #AySauceChallenge

Working with Byte, ASOS’ very first brand campaign on TikTok saw it take advantage of one of its most wide-reaching solutions: a Branded Hashtag Challenge Plus. With a bespoke track and an augmented reality Branded Effect that was as eye-catching as it was simple to use, ASOS made it easy for fans to share content showing off their slickest new ASOS looks. That focus on shareability, as well as a collaboration with more than 25 leading content Creators across the UK and US, helped to boost ASOS’ brand cut-through in a competitive ecommerce environment. It also drove significant awareness and interest in its key strategic markets, with more than 1.2 billion video views in just six days, and more than 488,000 videos created by users for the campaign.

See the creative: 


?? @asos land with a bang! Featuring its #AySauce Branded Hashtag Challenge Plus, TopView takeover, ORIGINAL music & Branded Effects ??

♬ original sound – TikTok for Business

Agency: Byte

Converse elevating live events with #ConverseAllStar

For the launch of the Creative All Star Series in London, Converse partnered with TikTok to broadcast the offline event to global audiences and challenge the community to design their custom Converses. The iconic footwear brand kick-started the campaign by working with top UK TikTok Creators driving high user engagement, complemented by various ad formats to increase the reach of the challenge, and drive sign-up clicks to the event. A brand study revealed the campaign drove a 75% uplift in brand recall, which can be mostly attributed to the innovative use of product alongside well-known Creators in the creative execution. Happening pre-lockdown, Converse’s campaign showed the power of Creators in combination with live events, and will surely remain a best practice for brands on TikTok once we start to return to ‘normal’ times.

See creative from our Creators:


#ad thank you #ConverseAllStar for letting me get creative with your newest kicks! Get creative with YOUR shoes! ?

♬ Converse Runstar – Zedig Sound Ltd.


#ad I see white shoes as a canvas #ConverseAllStar

♬ Converse Runstar – Zedig Sound Ltd.

Agency: Initiative

NYX Professional Makeup spooks TikTok at Halloween with its #DOLLHOUSECHALLENGE

The L’Oréal-owned brand took TikTok by storm with its #DOLLHOUSECHALLENGE, which saw a host of Creators transforming themselves into dolls using NYX Professional Makeup products, while singing along to Melanie Martinez’s ‘Dollhouse’ track. Inspiring huge amounts of Halloween creativity amongst our diverse community, what made this campaign successful was that NYX Professional Makeup understood TikTok’s value as an entertainment destination, harnessing the things that make our platform unique: music, authenticity and Creators. The huge volume of the 470,000 plus video creations and the 2 billion views for the campaign shows the popularity of make-up trends and beauty on the platform, and NYX Professional Makeup has really tapped into the type of content that people love engaging with on TikTok around Halloween.

See the creative from our Creators: 


i see things that nobody else sees, ft @nyxcosmetics_uk Matte Setting Spray #DOLLHOUSECHALLENGE #ad

♬ Dollhouse – Melanie Martinez

Agency: Essence

Campaigns and brands making the most of creative effects on TikTok

Ray-Ban raising eyebrows with its ‘You’re On’ eyebrow pinball experience

Ray-Ban became the first brand in Europe to launch a Gamified Branded Effect campaign across the region and tap into TikTok’s latest innovation in its augmented reality portfolio. Our Gamified Branded Effect was launched in July after TikTok saw huge demand from advertisers in gamifying the brand experience, allowing consumers to use facial expressions, body postures, or other motions to control and interact with branded elements. Working in partnership with TikTok’s Creative Lab and going live in five different markets at the end of November, Ray-Ban’s You’re On activation brought to life a selection of hot Ray-Ban sunglasses surrounded by the fluorescent visuals in a 3D AR immersive experience, inviting the TikTok community to hit scores using only their eyebrows to control the pinball machine paddles.

See the Gamified Branded Effect: 


Can You Beat My Score!?! It’s your turn, #youareon ! @rayban Ad

♬ original sound – luketroytrotman

O2 gets the nation dancing with #O2BublDance

To celebrate the arrival of its new brand platform, Bubl, O2 launched the Bubl Dance on TikTok, which took the crown as the first-ever robot dance duet on the platform. The little robot ‘Bubl’ showed how it moved and grooved and took on worthy challengers through the TikTok duet feature for a chance to win the latest Samsung phone. The 15-second dance was developed with a top TikTok choreographer to craft the robotic moves before being transformed into a 3D animation. Kicked off by Creators to raise initial interest and widespread awareness, the campaign also spans different TikTok ad formats. The creative execution led to thousands of engagements and hundreds of entrants on the first day of the competition and the #O2BublDance hashtag has attracted more than 2.3 billion views to date.

See the creative: 


? Take the #O2BublDance #Challenge to win a Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G from O2. Terms apply.

♬ Diesto – Official Sound Studio

Agency: Havas and VCCP

Mastercard taking on the Guinness World Records with #PricelessWave

Mastercard, one of the UEFA Champions League’s official sponsors, partnered with TikTok to celebrate the return of the Champions League by performing the world’s biggest wave on TikTok and breaking the world record for the largest digital stadium Mexican wave. With millions of people around the world enjoying the global game from their homes, the #PricelessWave – kicked off by football legends Fernando Torres and Marcel Desailly – encouraged fans to raise their hands for the tournament. The challenge combined with a special effect led to more than 2 billion views and huge volumes of people taking part in the challenge.

See the creative: 


Mastercard taking on the Guinness World Records with #PricelessWave and delivering Creative Excellence too ⚽️?

♬ original sound – TikTok for Business