Triller reportedly preps Super Bowl ad as app looks for breakout moment

Dive Brief:

  • Triller plans to run its first in-game ad at the Super Bowl, though details of its plans are scarce, Ad Age reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
  • The length of the commercial, when it will run during the game and the agency producing the creative are unclear at the moment, per the report, though Ad Age’s source said it will be a national spot.
  • Viewed as a rival to video-sharing app TikTok, Triller last summer raised an additional $100 million in funding. Triller has claimed it commands 100 million monthly active users, and the Super Bowl could be a key stage for growing familiarity with the brand among a broader base of consumers.

Dive Insight:

Making an appearance at the Super Bowl could be an important, if pricey, way for Triller to grow its brand awareness and scale with U.S. consumers. Those maturation steps are crucial if the app wants to seriously compete with TikTok and other video-sharing platforms centered on creators, a category that is increasingly crowded.

Media investment firm Proxima Media is the majority owner of Triller. The company signaled its intention to jumpstart the app’s growth with its November hire of Tuhin Roy, whose background includes stints at Universal Music Group, Perkins Coie LLP and helping to accelerate digital media companies like Giphy, Pandora and Loudr, per a release.

Triller has benefited from the pandemic, which has driven more people to social media, and also outgoing President Donald Trump’s threats to ban TikTok over national security concerns, a saga that is likely in the rearview with the incoming administration. Yet, Triller’s user base is still dwarfed by TikTok’s, and the startup hasn’t been free from controversy. Former staffers told Business Insider last fall that Triller artificially inflated its publicly reported usage figures in the past, allegations executives have denied. Regardless of those claims, Triller still has a long path ahead in closing the gap with rivals.

TikTok was the most-downloaded app last year and has handily retained the interest of users and advertisers despite the increased government scrutiny. Triller going big with a Super Bowl campaign would in some ways mirror TikTok’s strategy for audience growth and spurring positive word-of-mouth.

TikTok late last summer launched an extensive consumer-facing ad campaign in the U.S. highlighting how it affects “every facet of culture.” The effort evolved to include videos that went organically viral on the site, including one of a user skateboarding while lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” that was popular enough to put the decades-old single back on the charts.

Triller videos have rarely taken off in the same fashion, but the app has made important steps toward securing legitimacy. Blue-chip marketers, including Pepsi, have recently run campaigns tailored to the app, specifically its focus on music-oriented videos. Triller has also attracted some of TikTok’s top talent, including Charli D’Amelio, the most popular creator on ByteDance’s platform, though she does not exclusively use either app.

A Triller representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the company’s Super Bowl plans.

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