How this 10-minute TikTok from Hilton got 35 Million Views!

April 3, 2023


Hilton Hotels gave us a masterclass in the Art of TikTok advertising, and we’re taking notes.

Typically, capturing the attention of online audiences for more than 5 seconds is difficult. Still, Hilton Hotels flipped the script when their 10-minute ad went viral and received over 35 million views on TikTok.

At first glance, this Super Bowl-style advertisement breaks all of the rules of what typically flops on TikTok, such as:

  • Feature product placements 
  • Write an overtly corporate and gimmicky script
  • Make the video look overproduced
  • Publish videos longer than 10-60 seconds

Despite that, Hilton still managed to pull off an incredible accomplishment and confound marketers everywhere. But how? 

From our analysis, they did this in three main steps:

  1. Included popular TikTok creators to demonstrate their understanding of the app’s culture and references to capture and maintain our attention
  2. Parodied traditional advertising with seemingly corporate and gimmicky scripts
  3. Invited audiences to witness and experience the redefinition of branded content on the app

Although this video defied some conventions, it stayed consistent with some well-known industry secrets, such as the importance of the hook. In the first few seconds of the video, Paris Hilton, the hotel’s original namesake, challenges her audience to watch the entire 10-minute video with the promise of reward points at the end. Abruptly thereafter, TikTok content creators advise their audience to not watch the video.

Nothing like some good old-fashioned reverse psychology to pique your interest.

After hooking our attention, the big challenge begins: to maintain the viewer’s attention for the long haul. They did this by simulating what users normally do while on TikTok: watch short-form videos by different content creators. By breaking down the 10-minute video into shorter segments, they simulate the act of scrolling and show a different face every 10-60 seconds to maintain viewer engagement.

But what really keeps audiences hooked is the video’s ongoing references to TikTok’s subculture. Most corporate or brand efforts on TikTok fail due to a lack of understanding of the app’s subculture and audience. In contrast, Hilton’s advertisement celebrates the app’s unique features, including references to Stitch and Duet videos, musical remixes, and in-app Effects. Most importantly, each content creator scripted their sections in their style and voice, staying true to the personas audiences recognize.

Ultimately, authenticity is the key to being successful on TikTok. Its audiences are quick to criticize and cancel disingenuous and gimmicky content without hesitation. Clearly, Hilton did their homework and consulted talented and knowledgeable creatives on board to make this video. As far as we’re concerned, this video is the gold standard of TikTok advertisements.

@hilton Unexpected & amazing things can happen when you stay, and we want you to stay with us for 10 minutes. Yup, we made a 10-minute TikTok AND we’re giving away 10M Hilton Honors Points + more. #HiltonStayFor10 #HiltonForTheStay ♬ Hilton’s 10-Minute Stay – Hilton

Are brands and marketers going to now suddenly make longer videos? It’s unlikely; short-form video remains supreme. What we are taking away from this video is that there is still uncharted space to be successful on TikTok. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t have to mean that’s the absolute standard.

One thing we know for sure is that we will see more brands fully embracing TikTok as the leading space for digital marketing. As long as companies are willing to be bold and study the app’s unique subculture, they can reap major marketing benefits.

Hilton’s 10-minute ad is a shining example of what is possible on an app where you must make every second count.

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Andrew Johnson

President and co-founder of Dreww.