How Netflix, Paramount Won TikTok And Bonded With Gen Z

Sometimes TikTok is about a little chaos.

Mark von Holden / Contributor / Getty Images

Netflix’s Jonathan Helfgot, TikTok’s Khartoon Weiss and Paramount Pictures’ Danielle De Palma at Variety’s TikTok Culture Catalysts Dinner.

Paramount and Netflix executives offered advice on how to connect with Gen Z and talk about TikTok through the app at a dinner Tuesday hosted by Variety and TikTok, the outlet reported.

Here are some insights from the conversation for brands and entrepreneurs.

“You’ve gotta sprinkle some chaos on it”

The key to Tiktok is to adopt a certain vibe, said Jonathan Helfgot, Netflix’s vice president of film marketing, who spoke about how they promoted The Gray Man.

Related: 3 ways TikTok can help your business grow

The action film, which was released in July, was one of the most watched Netflix films of all time and was part of a viral social strategy that had 430 million views on TikTok.

“You can’t just put that thing that you put somewhere else on TikTok,” advised Helfgot.

“You have to throw a little bit of chaos into it,” he added, a term he heard from an executive in Netflix’s social media department.

Helfgot also said that brands need to offer “a little more personality” in TikTok content.

Unleash your creativity, scroll endlessly

Paramount has had successful marketing on TikTok with its May film, Top Gun: Maverick, according to Khartoon Weiss, global head of agency and accounts for TikTok.

The hashtag TopGunMode, where people joke about being in “top gun mode” after something good happened or make videos of themselves on planes, has over 13 billion views.

Danielle De Palma, Paramount’s executive vice president of global marketing, said the company has tried to connect Top Gun with younger people who might not have heard of it, particularly by featuring stars other than Tom cruise. The hashtag has also had paid partnerships with several high-profile TikTokers.

De Palma talked about connecting with the app’s ethos — and embracing the tremendous change it’s made in marketing.

“I think we’ve seen a pretty seismic shift with the proliferation of TikTok over the last few years… I think it’s changing the way we edit creatively. It’s changing the way we work with developers,” said de Palma.

“I feel like we’re on the platform all the time to see how people are expressing themselves,” she added.

Stick to the experts

You can also use communities that are already successful in the app. Helfgot said they promoted The Gray Man by collaborating with people in the popular #filmtok community.

Many communities in the app have their focus name with “tok” at the end (ie #witchtok) and at least some of them are becoming very influential.

That New York Times wrote in July about #booktok’s impact on the publishing industry.

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