dancing man from starburst berries and cream commercial

Ian Reichenthal/Vimeo

Why is the ‘Berries and cream’ song all over TikTok?

A 14-year-old Starburst ad has taken over the app.

 

Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Published Sep 20, 2021   Updated Sep 21, 2021, 9:41 am CDT

Are you stuck on “berries and cream” TikTok? A 14-year-old Starburst commercial has the app in its grip.

Over the last couple months, a song from a 2007 Starburst ad for a berries-and-cream-flavored candy (then named Berries and Creme) has gone viral on TikTok. But so has the vibe of the “Little Lad” from the ad, played by actor and choreographer Jack Ferver.

As Know Your Meme notes, YouTube remixes of the song popped up in the years after the commercial aired, but its resurgence on TikTok is due in part to podcaster Justin McElroy posting the audio back in January, and urging people to “Please make great art with this sound.”

It took a few months, but the audio has now been used in more than 188,000 TikToks, and the momentum around it appears to have started in July. Early TikToks used McElroy’s audio to comment on haircuts or outfits that resembled the Little Lad’s.

https://www.tiktok.com/@salamadunk/video/6999393281658424582?is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6891292833719813638
https://www.tiktok.com/@blakeislively/video/7003471458252934405/

Since then, there have been multiple remixes of the berries and cream song, which is just Ferver singing, “Berries and cream/Berries and cream/I’m a little lad who loves berries and cream.”

It’s also become a stand-in song for invasive thoughts or memories.

And there have been pleas from people trapped in berries and cream TikTok.

@julia.torello

some of my friends haven’t even heard the original audio #fyp #whatismyfyp #berriesandcream #chandelier

♬ Misc_mashups – Little Lad

Ferver, who uses they/them pronouns, created a TikTok account in early September to engage with the trend.

Adweek spoke to Gerry Graf, the executive creative director on the campaign, who broke down why it’s easily reemerged in 2021. It’s weird, short, and replicable: “It’s the first TikTok dance—that we just happened to create for YouTube.” They even did a Little Lad dance tutorial, back in 2007.

The agency had seen success with its surreal Skittles ads, and copywriter Brandon Davis told Adweek he performed an early version of the berries and cream song for the campaign’s creative directors to sell the idea. In the “bus station” ad, Ferver is wearing a child-sized costume unearthed from Warner Bros. storage.

On Sept. 18, McElroy addressed his part in unleashing this audio on TikTok, writing, “if I delete the sound would we all be free?” Of course, that’s not how TikTok works. But ultimately, he is responsible for the Little Lad Halloween costumes you know are coming.

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*First Published: Sep 20, 2021, 3:04 pm CDT