Social video sharing platform TikTok believes advertisers can significantly increase ad recall, brand awareness and favourability in Japan by adopting three new marketing drivers which it abbreviates to WTF.

The acronym is not what some English-speaking social-media users might think: WTF stands for ‘Wish’, ‘Try’ and ‘Fun’, three factors that emerged from TikTok’s research on the Gen Z audience and which can be applied to the use of hashtag challenges.

TikTok Japan’s X Design Center CD Norio Ichikawa, speaking at the recent Spikes Asia conference, explained why these are the key elements that should be incorporated in any brand attempts to launch a hashtag challenge on the social video sharing platform. (For more details, read WARC’s report: How TikTok reaches Gen Z in Japan with WTF hashtag challenges.)

‘Wish’ relates to younger consumers’ greater interest in social causes and in sharing with friends.

“If the cause is something that they really care about, they tend to be the first ones to share with their friends,” said Ichikawa. “They are also interested in non-profit organizations. They tend to be the ones who volunteer and donate.”

‘Try’ is a “very prevalent driver”, he added. Users have a higher propensity to embrace change and to want to try something new.

“When they see hashtag challenges, they are the first ones to jump into it. They take action before analysing things.”

And ‘fun’ is essential. “It has to be easy to join, but it also has to be fun for people looking at the challenge,” Ichikawa said.

While the proportion of Gen Z users demonstrating these characteristics is not so very much more than non-users, the effects of applying WTF methods appears disproportionate.

An analysis by Kantar Milward Brown and Nielsen of 27 brand lift survey cases (including 24 from Japan) during July 2018-Apr 2019 showed that such campaigns resulted in 65.7% increase in ad recall, 40.1% increase in awareness, 26.6% increase in association, 25.1% increase in favourability and 14.4% in brand preference.

Sourced from WARC