Believe it or not, TikTok users aren't opposed to ads — they just have high expectations for them. The most successful ones are quirky, creative, and entertaining — almost a reflection of the platform itself.
When brands take the time to understand TikTok, it becomes much easier to develop concepts, jump on trends, leverage effects and audio, and, ultimately, connect with an audience.
So, to help you hit the right note, we've compiled a list of the best ads on TikTok to inspire your next campaign.
"I want to show you how I was able to afford AirPod Pros in 48 hours starting with nothing."
An enticing hook within the first few seconds? Check. However, there's much more going on here.
First, the message. Notice how DoorDash positions itself as a side gig. It even points out how you can make more money in less time. This message is clearly enticing to its audience of young adults who want the latest gadgets without committing to a full-time job.
Second, the delivery. The ad uses a Gen Z narrator to appeal to a similar demographic. On top of that, he uses a popular effect on TikTok, known as green screen, allowing him to demonstrate how easy it is to sign up for DoorDash. When you combine all these tactics, you get a video that looks and feels authentic to the platform.
To recreate the same magic, focus on conveying a message that speaks to your audience and leverage platform-specific tactics — like effects, music, and audio — to deliver it in an authentic and engaging way.
There's nothing worse than watching an ad that feels scripted or forced. One way to get around this is by filming a vlog-style video, like this one from HelloFresh:
Out of the gate, the narrator grabs your attention by mentioning a common pain point: spending too much at the grocery store. So, she tries a meal kit. We follow along as she unboxes the ingredients, chops up the vegetables, and savors the end result.
Her final verdict? Surprise, surprise — she's happy with HelloFresh ("We definitely recommend this! It's easier, cheaper, and you get to try new delicious meals every week!"). But, more importantly, her recommendation feels personal, almost like an endorsement from a trusty friend. Because we walked in her shoes, sort of speak, the review feels sincere.
3. Crumbl Cookies
This ad is like candy for the eyes. It uses bright colors, upbeat music, and slow-motion shots of ooey-gooey cookies. The icing on the cake (or cookie?) is its use of humor.
The message is simple: you deserve to celebrate the sweet things in life. However, if you didn't have a victory today, Crumbl Cookies has you covered with a list of unspectacular achievements, such as: "Your team won the big game. Your team tried to win the big game. You didn't even know there was a big game."
This is a good reminder for brands to lean into humor, show a personality, and refine their brand voice. Tiktok is quirky by nature, and marketers find success when they're willing to get creative and silly.
4. Kung Fu Tea
Hashtags play a major role on TikTok. They help users find relevant videos and connect with those who share the same interests. For marketers, they can also boost a post's visibility and reach.
Kung Fu Tea's #BobaChallenge is the perfect example of a brand harnessing the power of hashtags. The challenge is simple: try to stab a straw in your boba cup with your eyes closed. Silly? A little, but also highly engaging, simple to execute, and effective at creating genuine reactions. As a result, the #BobaChallenge went viral, racking up thousands of likes and shares.
If you want to run a hashtag challenge, take a page from Kung Fu Tea and keep it simple, inclusive, and, most importantly, fun.
Here's another example of a hashtag challenge — with a twist. This one leverages TikTok influencers.
Clearly, an eyewear company, kicked things off with a branded hashtag (#ClearlyTransform) along with a challenge: show us your best look with your favorite pair of glasses. The overall message was to encourage people to feel confident while wearing glasses.
To spread this message even further, Clearly partnered with five high-profile creators including TikTok star Leenda Dong, who completed the challenge and shared it with her 17 million followers.
Clearly understands the importance of user-generated content. It gave participants creative freedom to interpret the challenge in their own way instead of forcing a message or pushing its branding.
Plus, by partnering with TikTok influencers, the challenge generated 241,000+ video submissions, 32.7 million engagements, and 12,000 new followers over six days.
The best ads on TikTok don't feel like ads. Let me explain.
For context, makeup tutorials are wildly popular on TikTok. In the example below, CoverGirl leans into this category by recreating a makeup tutorial using its new foundation. The video shows a makeup enthusiast applying the foundation and hyping up the results. The audience is getting value by seeing the product "in action" and learning a few tips from the narrator.
At first watch, you think the video is from a regular TikTok user instead of a brand — which is exactly by design. Because it looks natural on the platform, users are less likely to scroll past. In short, it strikes the perfect balance between providing value without being too sales-y.
Back to You
We hope these brands have inspired you to think outside of the box and get creative. It's helpful to remember that TikTok is a fun, entertaining platform, making it necessary to match that energy in your marketing.