Corn Kid: Spotting and understanding an emerging TikTok trend
The "Corn Kid" is a great example of a TikTok trend that was big news for millions of people worldwide weeks before most brands and mainstream media cottoned on and caught up. Check out this Shooglebox to see how Buzz alerted marketing and PR teams to the emerging TikTok sensation in the early days and provided context as it developed.
How it all started ...
On August 4 the original interview with then-unknown corn enthusiast Tariq was uploaded to YouTube by Recess Therapy, whose host Julian Shapiro-Barnum interviews children in New York City. It caught millions of people's attention – including the Buzz team – when the video was posted the same day on TikTok by Recess Therapy's production company @doingthings. That TikTok video's since had 26 million views.
It was a fortnight later – on August 19 – that everything really took off when the Gregory Brothers turned the interview into the "It's Corn" song and posted it on their @schmohoyo TikTok page. The Gregory Brothers have built a huge following on YouTube – and now TikTok – by "making songs out of things that were not previously songs".
Over the next few days Buzz tracked the phenomenal response to the remix which has gone on to pass 70 million views and been used by more than 900,000 people in their own TikTok videos.
Actress Ashley Tisdale was one of the first celebrities to post an "It's Corn" video, saying: "We should all be as excited about life as this kid is about corn." FoodTokers jumped on the trend too – Gordon Ramsay "couldn't miss this one" and used the song in a video about his street corn dip.
United Airlines, Duolingo and Marmite were some of the first brands to pick up on the trend and post their own videos just four days after the Gregory Brothers' remix went live. They were followed over the next few days by Ryanair, Nando's, Clarks, Innocent, Aldi, M&S Food and even the Teletubbies.
TikTokers started joking about how they couldn't escape from "CornTok" in their For You page: "I don't even remember what life was like pre corn kid".
By early September mainstream media was taking notice of the Corn Kid. He was invited to the opening of Mr Beast's new burger restaurant in New Jersey – the two of them filmed a TikTok video together using the "Sensual Seduction" sound which has racked up 35 million views and 8 million likes. The official @TikTok account commented that it was the "TikTok of the year".
Tariq was crowned the official "corn-bassador" of South Dakota, he was invited to the premiere of Disney's live adaptation of Pinocchio, and he appeared on the Drew Barrymore Show a month after the "It's Corn" song first went viral, the talk show host presenting the seven-year-old with a $5,000 voucher to spend at toy shop F.A.O Schwartz.
We've been tracking the development of the Corn Kid's story in our Buzz service since early August.