TikTok Japan: TikTok Japan Launches the First-Ever TikTok Film Festival


Campaign Summary

With the goal of changing how its platform was viewed by fans of sophisticated art, like film, TikTok Japan created the first-ever TikTok film festival, allowing creators and audiences to participate entirely on TikTok, while positioning the channel as a place where fine filmmaking could happen.



The majority of both user and non-user audiences in Japan viewed TikTok as a platform for kids and teens, with the content thought of as childish or meaningless, far from anything resembling sophisticated art. But, at the same time, there was a clear signal that TikTok creators were improving their skills and expanding into different types of content. With younger people gravitating to shorter content, TikTok provided an ample opportunity for Japan's film industry professionals to leverage TikTok creators and connect with younger audiences who had an interest in fine art like film. TikTok Japan wanted to change its brand image, showing users that the platform could be a place of diversified interests, with more sophisticated content being placed alongside pieces that were viewed as childish. The brand wanted to show itself as a place for nurturing all types of creatives, even those who were aspiring to be serious artists.

Target Audience:

This campaign was aimed at creators who did not perceive TikTok as a platform where they could express their creativity. This group primarily included people in their 20s and 30s who felt TikTok was not for them, but who were interested in art forms such as film.

Creative Strategy:

TikTok Japan decided the best way to raise people's awareness of TikTok as a sophisticated content-creation platform among film lovers was to combine the social media platform with something those film lovers were known to enjoy: a film festival. The brand partnered with TOHO, a Japanese movie theater company, to create the "TikTok TOHO Film Festival 2021," which promised to discover Japan's next great filmmaker by allowing anyone aged 13 or older to submit a film for consideration in the festival by uploading it to TikTok and using a customized hashtag.

The festival was promoted via online and offline mediums, using digital marketing tactics on smartphones, as well as 2D and 3D visuals in TOHO theater locations. The brand also deployed flyers, TV commercials, and posters on university campuses.


There has never been a vertical video film festival of this scale, nor has there been a film festival so easily accessible by so many people.


Overall Campaign Execution:

The overall budget for this campaign was $280,000, 30 percent of which went to mobile. For offline and non-mobile-focused activations, the brand utilized TV commercials and cinema ads, fusing both the old and the new with its tactics.

Mobile Execution:

Smartphones and TikTok have simply lowered the barrier to entry for anyone who wants to create videos and films. One does not have to have specialized knowledge or training; film creation is really being democratized.

By using mobile media, TikTok Japan was able to offer a one-stop solution for both creators and audiences. Creators could shoot with their smartphones and submit their entries by using the hashtag #TTFilmFestival2021. The audience could watch films and have interactions with creators and even vote for their favorites, all in one single app.

The festival awards ceremony was also made available to all on mobile devices via the TikTok LIVE feature. This was an effective way to reach more people during the pandemic. Indeed, the online audience turned out to be far larger than if the festival had held the awards ceremony offline.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The long-term ripple effect on the brand perception of TikTok was the ultimate outcome achieved in this campaign. Over 90 percent of the sentiment on social networks was positive or neutral toward the brand during the campaign. TV and social networks together had a reach of more than 30 million individuals. Organic media coverage exceeded 200 placements with almost all media focusing on entertainment and culture genres. TikTok Japan also received media requests from major film companies and publishers like Shueisha and Shogakukan.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Brand Activism, User Generated/Influencer Marketing | Awards: X Finalist