Albert Thompson Comments on the Most Viral Moments of 2021


The tides of social media can be tricky to navigate. Consumers can be touchy about brand voices. Content may just fall flat with each social platform requiring its own tone and finesse. But sometimes, a brand hits a home run. We’ve rounded up the top five social media “slam dunks” from this year.


Brands (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift’s latest album release was long awaited by her fans, and it seems that brands’ social teams were glad as well. Brands updated their Twitter handles to include “(Taylor’s Version)” or red scarf emojis. Many posted puns from her lyrics, including Panera and Taco Bell.


The Washington Post’s TikTok

The Post started making TikToks two years ago, featuring Dave Jorgenson, aka “The Washington Post TikTok guy.” The videos are simple takes or explainers on headline news stories, from Aaron Rodgers being “immunized” all the way to the latest infrastructure bill. There are also more straightforward, newscast-like videos, such as one about the Astroworld concert deaths. The content resonates with both younger and older audiences. The Post reached 1.1 million subscribers this year, and is even hiring more positions to support production.


McDonald’s Twitter feed

McDonald’s Twitter team has been hard at work. The brand has done several partnerships this year, including the BTS Meal, the Saweetie Meal and a partnership with FaZe Clan. The account has been quick to respond to fans in their lingo. For example, earlier this year McDonald’s changed its Twitter name to include a superscript “7”, in reference to the popular K-pop boy-band BTS. When a fan asked the brand for its “bias”, aka favorite band member, McDonald’s responded “OT7.” That stands for “One True 7,” meaning the Golden Arches loves all seven members equally and can’t choose a favorite.

A few months ago, esports organization FaZe Clan did a “FaZe member for a day” in celebration of the team winning the Call of Duty Championship. McDonald’s was one of the brands that joined in, organically changing itsTwitter name to “FaZe McDonald’s.”


Logo changes

If your brand has been mentioned in one of Emily Zugay’s videos, congratulations. The young designer and her deadpan humor have racked up 2 million followers on TikTok, and her brand logo videos regularly pull in millions of views. Zugay became known across social media teams after she “upgraded” the logos of major brands including Amazon, Sephora, and the Detroit Lions (aka the Detriot Lines). Brands are eager to have their logo done, filling the video comment sections with requests. Those who are lucky enough (or sponsor a video) often change their TikTok profile picture to her creation. “It is so uncommon for [these brands] to go off-script,” said Albert Thompson, managing director of digital at Walton Isaacson. “Allowing her to do it on a whim, and then adopting the logo, is unprecedented.”


Eos NSFW shave cream

Brands rarely get to pick when or how their product will go viral. Skincare company Eos learned this first hand earlier this year when it was featured in a TikTok by Carly Joy. In the video, Joy explains her personal shaving tips, including using Eos shaving cream to “bless your f#@%in cooch,” as she put it. Within a few days, Eos and its creative agency, Mischief @ No Fixed Address, made a prototype packaging of all of Eos’s shaving creams, changing the product name to “Cooch Blessing Cream.” The packaging included Joy’s instructions verbatim on the back for how to achieve a “smooth-ass hoo-hah.” Fans loved it, buying up the shaving cream both on the Eos website and on retail partner sites. Eos Chief Marketing Officer Soyoung Kang talked about how the brand’s TikTok strategy evolved after the viral hit.


Check out the creative ways brands connected with their consumers HERE.