The Brief: Retail TikTok is a subgenre within Alt/Elite TikTok where creators depict anthropomorphized brands and retail stores in bizarre videos.
While many brands are hopping on TikTok, Zoomers on Alt/Elite TikTok are getting millions of views and thousands of followers from brand parody account videos on what’s known as Retail TikTok. Also known as Product TikTok, Retail TikTok is a side of the app where creators are devoted to impersonating well-known brands with a tone somewhere between pastiche and parody.
Some of the biggest accounts within this genre are @theburlingtoncoatfactory (38.6k followers) @headandshouldersofficial (11.7k followers), @officialgeicoinsurance (20.1k followers), and @therealbuildabear (12.3k followers). While they often have “official” in their handles, these accounts are far from official.
Stores, products, companies, and brands are typically anthropomorphized via the eye and mouth emoji with effects including rough animation and deep-fried filters. Retail/brand TikTok accounts frequently interact with each other, getting in fights, going on dates, and competing to cancel each other. Retail TikTok serves as a subversion of brand twitter where instead of officially run accounts tweeting about their feelings, absurd parodies of brands run amuck.
Like much of Alt/Elite/Deep TikTok, the entertainment in these videos comes from just how unexpected and strange they are. Users can join niche communities where personified corporations have intricate relationships with each other and their fans, participating in a form of culture jamming with a uniquely Gen Z sense of humor.
Welcome To Retail TikTok
At the time of writing, videos associated with the hashtag #RetailTikTok have been viewed over 32.9 million times and ones associated with the hashtag #ProductTikTok have been viewed over 936,000 times.