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9 trends that went viral on TikTok in the last 6 months of 2022 and how brands capitalized

It’s no secret that TikTok is gaining more and more ground every day. It’s the best tool brands have to create content with viral potential and the place where they can make the biggest impact with their real time marketing strategy. Bye-bye Christmas and Easter Facebook posts, the TikTok of funny 30-second maximum videos is in!
About TikTok

TikTok may seem like a relatively new platform, but it’s a sibling of the famous, an app based on the same principle: lip sync. is where most of the TikTok influencers like Ariel Martin, Loren Gray, Jacob Sartorius and many others who weren’t actors or vloggers actually launched on that platform, so the transition to TikTok was a breeze.

The difference between the two platforms is that on TikTok your chance of going viral is much higher, TikTok is much more permissive and overall more fun.

Brands and TikTok in 2022

Trends: Brands have integrated trends into their TikTok strategy in 2022 because they are impactful and easy for everyone to use: from companies, to content creators or simply consumers of short videos, anyone can have fun from tried and tested recipes.

Why it works: After all, TikTok is a platform for snackable video content, i.e. short, punchy videos with substrate, subject and predicate. Any content creator who is found on this platform has to think their content through if they want to make something original, they have to have a really good hook to keep the audience on the video (because videoviews are the law on this platform on the road to virality), have something relevant to say or even better, bring something that has never been seen before. If you can’t do that every day, because somehow your creativity chest needs a break, stick with the most important thing on TikTok that you can do without fail: TRENDS.

Below you’ll find 10 trends that have simply made a splash on TikTok over the past few months, in completely random order: on an impact level they’ve all been equally big!

Trend 1 – “Capybara”

The Capybara trend happened very quickly: you blinked and the whole TikTok was full of Capybara. Brands have successfully adapted the Capybara story to their tone of voice, and in Romania, if I’m spoiling for good examples, I’ll stop at Kaufland, which you can see here, and Banca Transilvania, which you can see here.

Here you can see another reason why the Capybara trend has caught on, how could it not when they are absolutely ADORABLE animals?

Why this trend worked: the unexpected mix of elements. Basically, the TikTok made a particularly important decision: if in other years kittens were cute, this year they decided that nothing could top a Capybara. It’s fluffy, it’s funny, it’s friendly to everyone. Only it would be even cooler if it had a twist: why not have him make lists about everything, but not anyway, but in Spanish. And let’s give him a sombrero. It was perfectly normal in those days to see a Capybara explaining what to do when shopping. After all, who are we to judge?

Trend 2 – “Things that just makes sense”

Things that just makes sense has come from 2021 to 2022 with equal success, many brands have still chosen to use it and rightly so, it gives a very human feel to the consumer. Let’s not forget that people also want to see fun, relaxed things, not just brand content in a very obvious way!

A good example comes from Banca Transilvania with this TikTok and from Kaufland with this one.

Why this trend worked: a different kind of transition, inspired by a long-running internet joke. People were amused by this revival of a cliché about Italians: the way they gesticulate when they speak.

Trend 3 – “Boyfriends and girlfriends are gonna come and go”

Pheobe’s famous line from the American sitcom Friends has trended on TikTok. Initially it started with Gen Z telling their problems in a comical way on this sound, it was later taken up by Brands, who integrated their products or services into the format:

Banca Transilvania applied the trend to this video as well.

It’s a fun way to showcase your services, especially when you know you’ve had something for a long time and it’s not going away anytime soon. That’s what this trend is all about, showing off your longest lasting products, services, moods, feelings and so on. Brands understand that it’s a new way to promote an old service or product that’s meant to stay on the market just as long.

Why this trend worked: pop-culture reference + addressing an audience tension. Just like any other fad, shows have their periods when they are forgotten and when they become super interesting again. That’s what happened with Friends, a vintage collector’s item for Generation Z. Plus, it’s contextualized in current audience tensions in a way that generates relevance.

Trend 4 – “Remember when this was your only problem?”

Because we’re going through an atypical period that has brought with it a wave of enormous change, Generation Z built this trend in which they generally exposed their problems that at the time seemed so controversial and complicated that a solution to them didn’t seem to be found anytime soon. Comparing the problems of the past to the current ones seems like child’s play, and people have understood that it can get worse.

On this principle this trend developed, they brought old problems into the present to compare them with the new ones, the new ones that seem endless. We went through a pandemic, a war, a world crisis and many others, but 3 years ago our major problems were different. It’s a way of ironizing what we thought was fatal then. The best and funniest example of this was done by Neversea itself, who understood that when they poke fun at the audience with the various problems in their lives, they only gain. You can watch the TikTok here.

Why this trend worked: controversial topic + easing some audience tension. Manele is always a hot topic, especially in the context of festivals known for other types of music. This year Neversea tried to de-escalate audiences who are rightly going through the most difficult time of their lives by recalling times when they were simply outraged that Salvatore Ganacci could play manele at a Romanian festival.

Trend 5 – “If I was a…”

This trend is one of those trends that you smile at and that brands approach with their consumers as a way to interact through common ground. Sometimes we also need some good stuff on the internet, because life is also made up of happiness, not just comedy. Without much introduction, Neversea Festival right here.

Why this trend worked: brands asked their communities what they imagined they would be, people got involved and the result was much more personal because of it.

Trend 6 – “Red Flag”:

The famous Red Flag that once swarmed all of Social Media, not just TikTok. Even though on TikTok content creators were abusing this trend, brands decided to pick it up and run with it on other platforms, because even if a trend is good on TikTok, that doesn’t mean another platform makes it any less good.

What is this red flag trying to express? This red flag is used to warn people of potential problems, dangerous situations and pretty much anything that means not-so-good ideas. On TikTok, it got a twitst! My red flag is that if I leave the house without drinking coffee in the morning, the chances of yelling at innocent people increases by 100%, an innocent example but it’s a red flag, I couldn’t stand myself on days like this either.

Even though it has been used obsessively in Social Media, however, the trend started on TikTok, here an example of a brand that has used TikTok brilliantly is McDonald’s Lebanon.

Why this trend worked: the pop-culture reference + the tensions young people face every day made this trend work. When you think of something wrong with something, be it person, product or service, it has entered the common vocabulary to call it a red flag.

Trend 7 – “She/He’s a 10 but…”:

You know that perfect moment that does, however, have something that disrupts your biological clock? That’s where this trend started. Right now you can still find TikTok on the charts, it’s still hanging on and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. Brands, like the Red Flag trend, have adapted it to other platforms, a good example being Netflix.

On TikTok it has been used both in collaborations by brands with influencers here, and by brands purely here

Why this trend has worked: addressing an audience strain. Brands have associated themselves with this trend from the perspective that they are also creating fun around a super-relevant tension in consumers’ everyday lives: the moment you meet someone who turns out to be quirky or different in an unexpected way.

Trend 8 – “But… I have things to do!”

The trend that took off on TikTok this summer and is still going strong is the “I would check myself into a mental hospital today but… I have things to do!” One of the brands that made this trend and exploded on TikTok was Karen’s Diner.

Why this trend worked: addressing a topic of interest to audiences in a context where FOMO is at its highest level since the Pandemic. The way brands have integrated their communications has been on the position of working particularly well and a much better alternative than anything else.

Trend 9 – “It’s corn!”

To end on a dopamine high, everyone knows the little boy who described corn as the most beautiful thing in the world. On the original video, a song was made that turned his words into lyrics and that’s how this trend took off in a big way. Brands have used it to show off their hottest products by describing them to the beat of the music, as you can see here.

Why this trend worked: catchy. Similar to TVC’s jingles, the boy of the It’s Corn trend! Has become irresistible to the internet. And brands were able to showcase their products or services without having to invest in a custom jingle.

So what’s to be done with TikTok trends in 2023

TikTok trends are the best resource for brands that want to create an authentic connection with their audience. Sometimes it’s about the opportunity to gain relevance by showing they truly understand their consumers. Other times, it’s about being part of the same fun and entertaining experience. But not infrequently, brands use TikTok trends to reach out in a more cost-effective way: sometimes it’s better not to invest budget in dedicated content and identify early on a Capybara that gets you nearly 40k likes with a slideshow.

What is certain is that a brand that manages to correctly identify a trend before it becomes mainstream for its audiences quickly gains image capital that can hardly compete with many of the classic components in the communication mix.