TikTok launches first Canadian ad campaign

TikTok has launched its first-ever Canadian ad campaign, and there’s not a bottle of Ocean Spray in sight.

“It starts on TikTok” debuted in the U.S. in August, and arrives in Canada today with a 30-second spot airing during TSN’s coverage of the NBA Finals and Major League Baseball playoffs. It is being supported by social, digital and out-of-home.

The TV spot stitches together a series of TikToks by Canadian creators including Edmonton’s @NotoriousCree, who uses the platform to share Indigenous culture and history, and @Bomanizer, a Toronto actor and artist who creates parodies of reality TV shows.

“The goal of the campaign is to celebrate the impact that the TikTok community has made on culture and society by conveying all that starts on TikTok: beloved memes, trends, creativity, connectivity, movements, and more,” says TikTok Canada’s general manager, Daniel Habashi.

“We decided to run the campaign now as it was a great time to acknowledge how much this ever growing community means to us. We’re seeing our Canadian creators gain more awareness globally and we wanted to shine a light on some of the homegrown, amazing talent we have right here.”

The spot is soundtracked by “High End,” a song by Canadian hip-hop artist Patrik that TikTok says was selected because of its high energy,” which fits with the campaign’s upbeat nature.

The campaign comes at a time when the Chinese-owned social media platform has enjoyed skyrocketing popularity around the world, with a reported 800 million monthly active users worldwide.

Its power to spark viral sensations was recently demonstrated by a quirky video created by an Idaho man named Nathan Apodaca—who goes by the TikTok name @420doggface208—skateboarding while drinking from a bottle of Ocean Spray and listening to the Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams.”

The video went massively viral, garnering nearly 30 million likes and leading to a series of copycat responses, including one by Fleetwood Mac member Mick Fleetwood.

However, TikTok has also become the subject of intense government scrutiny. On Friday, Pakistan announced it was banning the app because of its “immoral” content, while India banned it in June citing cybersecurity concerns. And in the U.S., President Trump has threatened to ban TikTok over concerns that the Chinese company is harvesting American user data.

The Canadian campaign is being supported by Toronto PR agency Proof, with Publicis providing media planning services.

Chris Powell