These graduates have taken the TikTok company hostage and gained't give it again till they get a job


LONDON – It may not be easy right now to get a degree with advertising agencies on both sides of the pond hemorrhaghing talent to help curb the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two semi-anonymous British creatives who graduated in August have come up with a new and unusual way to grab the attention of the UK's top advertising agencies: registering TikTok accounts in all of their names and saying they are them held hostage until everyone offers them a placement.

The duo, who masked themselves for the stunt and called themselves Very Serious Partners, set up handles for agencies like Mother London, BBH London, AMV BBDO and Lucky Generals. You tweeted them to let them know the crouching username and targeted them with paid ads.

You gave the agencies 72 hours to get in touch with an offer. In this case, they pass the handles.

If not, they plan on uploading content to the accounts until they force their hand. This will likely lead to the agencies regretting not setting up their own TikTok account sooner.

The men behind the masks are 27-year-old Londoners Alex Morris and Oliver Finel (originally from Paris). The couple told Adweek that the CEO of a large agency had already contacted them.

According to TikTok's terms and conditions, accounts allegedly owned by someone else are not allowed. But it is parody and fan accounts as long as it is clear that there is no official affiliation. TikTok accounts that are "confusing or misleading" may be blocked according to the rules.

Ruffle feathers

Finel and Morris said that while they felt a little concerned when they started the hijacking stunt, it took such a drastic, attention-grabbing act to get noticed in such a tough market. While the duo have been lucky enough to secure a spot in the past, when looking for more industry experience, they found plenty of closed doors and news of hiring freezes.

"We thought we'd have to do something to shake it up a bit (so). I signed up for a lot of them to get us noticed," said Morris.

"We wanted to make a little noise and force her hand a little," he added. "We are relatively cheap like creative workers. Hopefully that will pucker a few feathers and draw our attention."


Jeffrey Rabinowitz