Lotus’ Social Media Is Absolutely Bananas, and It’s Genius
Lotus, are you OK?
Lotus is full of gentlemen mechanics in tweed and covered in motor oil, right? A conservative Ye Olde English motor company, as it were. But then you hop on Lotus' TikTok and all I have to ask is, "Lotus, are you OK?!"
While most corporate social media is full of boring product announcements and lame videos from leashed interns, Lotus absolutely leaned into the unhinged insanity of TikTok. I mean, just scroll through a few of these videos.
The absurdity and success of Lotus' TikTok page is the brainchild of the company's social media executive, Kai-To Li. Kai-To's been at the company for nearly four years, starting as a graduate engineer. But it was only this year that he moved into the social media role and shaped Lotus' TikTok page into something I can't even adequately describe being the millennial I am. It's just something you have to experience.
It's also garnered Lotus 2.2 million followers and 52.4 million likes.
That said. What is this?
No, I can't explain this either.
Could any of you see Mercedes-Benz or Chevrolet pulling this? No, you couldn't because some corporate suit would intervene, "Won't someone think of Mema who'll be offended by this!" But Mema isn't on TikTok, suit. The Youths are.
And Lotus' TikTok is a powerhouse of engagement. Each of its TikTok videos has millions of views, with some blowing past tens of millions of views. This video below has 19.2 million plays at the time of writing and has nothing to do with the car company at all.
Whereas other companies have tried to tap into the viralness of TikTok, it never reads as authentic when it's intermixed with traditional marketing. But since Kai-To's controlling the entire page, and Lotus' executives seem OK with letting him do whatever, the entirety is devoted to TikTok fun and makes for a genuineness you can't fabricate.
It doesn't stop there. Kai-To doubles down in the comments, responding to users with the same reckless abandon he brings to each video. It's a holistic lunacy that's absolutely working.
Half the videos don't even feature a Lotus car or reference the company. Some just have an Easter-egg Lotus clipped into the background. But even if the cars aren't center stage, Lotus' name is reaching a generation that might not know about it without this account.
With TikTok, the company is reaching its next buyers.
Tommy Clark, from the company Triple Whale, has an excellent breakdown of why Lotus' TikTok, and specifically Kai-To's control of it, works.
TikTok is currently social media's Wild West. It's a landscape that rewards boldness over staid and boring marketing. And with Kai-To in charge, Lotus is generating an insane amount of brand awareness by leaning into what TikTok's audience wants. It may seem like nonsense in certain aspects, but if I had to place a bet on which car company is winning at TikTok, my money is on Lotus at this point.
It's not every day that you find a company's leadership willing to try something that is perhaps antithetical to traditional marketing.
Your move, Audi.
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