How consumers react to TikTok’s first UK TV Commercial

As we enter the new year, we have decided to take a look back at one of our favourite ads from 2020. As TikTok’s first UK TV ad campaign, “A Little Brighter Inside” coincided with the first COVID-19 lockdown, TikTok took the opportunity to help the nation stay upbeat, positive and entertained. Our research seems to indicate it did just that.

The 60-second advert features a whole host of digital creators and celebrities – from Little Mix, Tom Daley, Tinie Tempah, Gordon & Tilly Ramsay through to the likes of Holly H, Matthew & Ryan, Grandad Joe and even Charlie the sausage dog – all of whom proved popular on TikTok in early 2020 before the release of the ad.

Created by Social Lab, the advertising is part of a wider marketing campaign the social platform had in place in May 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, with creators and celebs filming the shorts in their own homes, creating joy-filled and entertaining videos, which is very much in keeping with the TikTok ethos – honing creative expression in 2020 and beyond!

Using AdProbe, Vision One’s advanced advertising pre-testing method, we conducted a monadic test on the execution via an online survey amongst a nationally representative sample of the UK population to understand the advertising effectiveness.

Creative Performance

The UK wide survey has shown the celebrity-endorsed advertising to be highly memorable! The TV advertising execution has significantly higher than average Unprompted Recall when compared to our normative database. This potentially illustrates the benefits of celebrities and indirect celebrity endorsement.

The advertising also recorded high levels of ‘Buzz’ indicating that people would be inclined to talk about the advertising. This is an important factor as it helps to amplify the effect of the advertising.

The advertising also recorded high levels of Positive Emotion, particularly in terms of Joy and Excitement.


This year we have introduced Video Sentiment Analysis to our pre-testing – this allows respondents to record how they feel whilst watching the advert. Sentiment analysis records Likes or Dislikes and/or Interesting or Boring. Overall, ‘Liking’ remained positive throughout the video, with no overall negative emotions recorded throughout the execution. It is worth noting, that ‘Liking’ peaked when the phrase ‘Joy-Filled’ is shown on screen.

When looking at the Interesting vs Boring dimension the advertising shows something different. Analysis shows that the strongest level of ‘Interest’ was at the beginning of the video suggesting it was creating some intrigue. However, interest weakens at around 34 seconds into the execution suggesting there is an issue with the length of the advertising and that the advertising may be more effective as a 30-second execution.

About TikTok

It has been a turbulent year for TikTok, in which the Trump administration attempted to ban the app. This move caused much consternation among the 200 million users who had downloaded the app in the US. However, interest in TikTok continues to rise with over 2.6 billion downloads in over 150 countries worldwide – with over 1 billion monthly active users! We anticipate usage will continue to rise for the foreseeable future as viewers try to overcome boredom and stay upbeat!



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