HotToks: Olipop is "TikTok's Soda," Tarte Trip Backlash, & Rapid-Fire TikTok News
Last updated on
September 18, 2023
Welcome back to HotToks. This edition we report on Olipop as "TikTok's Soda," the recent Tarte influencer trip backlash, and more rapid-fire TikTok news and updates.
Olipop is “the TikTok Soda”
If you have been on TikTok, you’ve probably heard about Olipop. The story of Olipop goes like this: they launched in 2017, specializing in offering healthier alternatives to traditional, more sugary sodas by swapping sugar for fiber and prebiotics—but offered in traditional soda flavors like root beer and cola. They’re available online and in retailers like Target, Whole Foods, Kroger, and Walmart. Recently, they’ve been making headlines for debuting their first ‘big girl’ TV ad featuring Camila Cabello.
Fast forward to now, TikTok is currently the only platform in Olipop’s social media budget. As Steven Vigilante, Olipop’s head of new business development, says, “We’ve turned off all of our ad spend across every other social platform, so we’re just running ads on TikTok, forming creator partnerships, and making content for our organic page.” Talk about ‘all or nothing.’ Steven Vigilante notes that since turning solely to TikTok, the company has experienced its best months ever from a business standpoint.
“We’ve turned off all of our ad spend across every other social platform, so we’re just running ads on TikTok, forming creator partnerships, and making content for our organic page.” - Steven Vigilante, Head of Business Development, Olipop
Olipop’s start to influencer marketing was in the summer of 2020 when it turned to ‘traditional’ creator partnerships on Instagram, where the brand provided a fairly scripted brief about Olipop and discount codes. However, Vigilante quickly noticed they were less effective and came off as ‘very transactional and sales-focused.’
In the latter months of 2021, Vigilante turned to TikTok to look for a TikTok creator to help produce videos for the brand. It came organically; they stumbled upon Sara Crane’s video, commented on it, and contracted her. After working with Crane, Vigilante was impressed by her ideas for TikTok content, and soon she became one of Olipop’s in-house TikTok content strategists.
As Vigilante attributes it, the key to their success is never trying to get people to buy anything. They use the platform only to share entertaining content tied to the brand and never to push sales or promotional codes. To this day, Crane, along with Diana Rondi, another in-house content creator, has the creative reigns over Olipop’s TikTok channel. They film and edit all the videos on their phones, making it as lo-fi as possible, staying true to what works on the platform. An ad that you forgot was even an ad at all. That–and costumes.
Olipop has turned to more ‘product placement’ videos than ‘Olipop-dedicated videos.’ The brand simply asks 30-40 creators per month to feature one of the cans in their regular content. And it works incredibly well. Just look at this casual product placement. As one viewer puts it, “Now this is how you create genuine ads/partnerships that we want to watch,” and we’re here for it.
She used her platform to speak about the lavish trip, now being coined as the “Tarte F1 Drama”. Jones explained that she was supposed to go with Tarte to Miami for the Formula 1 (F1) Miami Grand Prix. She decided not to go on the trip when she found out that her itinerary for the weekend wasn’t the same as her fellow influencers attending; the other influencers were staying for the big F1 race on Sunday, while she was only slated to stay until Saturday.
In the video, she says that she felt like “a second-tier person,” which has caused shock waves in the beauty community and beyond, stating, “I will be damned as a Black creator if I accept anything other than equal treatment on these trips… I have more integrity than to get all the way to Miami and realize that… I’m being ranked.”
Unlike TikTok (for the most part), Amazon’s main goal for pushing this “Inspire” feed is to drive purchases. If you see something you like, you can directly shop by clicking on the “see all details” button leading you to the product page. Creators enrolled in the Amazon Influencer Program can post content to Inspire and are eligible for a commission when customers shop from their content. Consumers can’t post but can submit a product review that can show up on Inspire but won’t earn them any commission.
We’re already seeing it happen, but day by day, every app is beginning to look more and more like TikTok.