Tennis ball with smiling face(l), Peppers with smiling faces(c), Potato with smiling face(r)

@the_real_deal_det/Tiktok @frugalfavs/Tiktok @nick.yum/Tiktok

Why is TikTok now flooded with inane ‘help me prove to my boss’ marketing videos?

Social media is rallying together to prove strangers’ bosses and teachers wrong.


Katherine Huggins


TikTok users are more than willing to blow up banal videos if it helps prove a stranger’s boss, professor, or teacher wrong.

That’s clear from how much social media has embraced the “help me prove” marketing trend lately, where a user shares purposely unexciting videos with the express goal of farming engagement.

One of the most successful iterations of this trend is TikToker Nick Yum’s potato-watering video series.

“Tater, the veggie influencer” has accrued more than 15,000 followers—with one video garnering over two million views.

“9 days left to prove to my manager that me watering my potato is more effective than his billboard marketing strategy,” reads the text overlay on the video.

@nick.yum follow me to prove to my boss that his marketing strategy is worse than this 😤 #marketing #potato #mashedpotatoes ♬ original sound – Nick Yum

Other videos of Tater gained just under 150,000 views in total.

But the strategy worked—and the account has since pivoted to marketing actual products.

While there are no videos on the account pre-dating the potato strategy, the TikToker has since shifted to promoting a wide range of products including headphones, supplements, a portable ice maker, and a bidet.

And while it might seem unexpected, Tater becoming a viral sensation is not exactly an anomaly—videos following the trend have also racked up thousands of views.

“Help me prove to my marketing professor that TikTok is more powerful gaining followers than a billboard campaign,” reads the caption of a video of a smiling tennis ball that has been viewed more than 70,000 times.

@the_real_deal_det Help me prove to my marketing professor that TikTok is more powerful gaining followers than a billboard campaign. #tiktokpower #poweroftiktok #provethemwrong #gainfollowers ♬ Like That! – Laila!

“10 days left until graduation to prove to my marketing teacher I can market a smiling kiwi better than his ‘marketing’ course,” challenges another video.

@curatedshoppe follow to prove to my marketing teacher his course is worse than this. #kiwi🥝 #kiwi ♬ Kiwi – Netherfriends
@frugalfavs Help me prove to my marketing teacher the power of TikTok can be better than a billboard. #provethemwrong #poweroftiktok #iknowbetter #getfollwers ♬ bounce (i just wanna dance) – фрози & joyful

And on Instagram, the account “breadfallingoverexperiment”—a username that accurately describes the only type of videos it posts—has accumulated 615,000 followers with its low-tech premise.

“Mission accomplished,” reads its latest video of a piece of bread with a miniature graduation cap toppling over. “We Successfully Proved to My Marketing Teacher that Bread Falling Can get more Followers than ‘Panera Bread’ Before I Graduated!” (Panera holds a following of 551,000.)

The trend spins off similar trends—including the decade-old meme of teachers promising to waive finals or homework if a post got a certain number of likes and basic videos that implore its audience to engage so the creator doesn’t get fired.

“I told my boss I made a viral edit, please don’t let it flop” beseeched one user who posted a brand compilation video that has been viewed more than 16 million times.

And in another example, one video of a skeleton dancing on top of an Arizona Iced Tea is captioned “this is the dumbest thing I have made can we make sure it goes viral.”

@drinkarizona This is the dumbest thing I have made can we make sure it goes viral #spookyscaryskeletons #spooky #halloween #skeleton ♬ Spooky Freaky – Felipe Vassão

Replying to someone who said the poster would be fired, Arizona’s account wrote back: “I’m so screwed.”

The trend also seems to have caught fire following a surge in popularity of “Nicole the Intern”—whose Instagram account “thebestmarketingstrategyever” boasts more than 500,000 followers and has posted evidence of her strategy being effective.

The first post on the account—from April 13, the same day breadfallingoverexperiment began posting—shows Nicole smashing a can with a bat.

“60 days remaining to prove to my boss that smashing this can is more effective than his entire marketing strategy,” the video’s text says.

That video garnered 4,500 likes, but a video posted three days later of her wielding a bat once again, racked in more than 165,000 likes—and posts from that point on began taking off.

“If I don’t hit 500k followers by 06/10 I’m fired,” captions on the earlier videos stated.

The product Nicole is promoting is Mixoloshe, canned, non-alcoholic drinks. The landing page for its website now includes a pop-up that asks if you’re here for Nicole the Intern.

“She claims that all this traffic is coming from these smashing videos,” the pop-up states. “If that’s true, enter your email below.”

Videos shared by Nicole’s account show the bestmarketingstrategyever might just be that for Mixoloshe.

“Today we broke the previous daily sales record by over 50%,” she wrote on May 20. “Can smashing is proving to be quite effective.”

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