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Tweet of the Week

3 Ways West Elm Caleb Boosted West Elm’s Brand

July 5, 2022
January 25, 2022
Mae Rice

This week, the villain of TikTok is a (self-described) West Elm furniture designer. Could his internet infamy possibly be a good thing for West Elm’s brand?

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Source: Twitter

My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos isn’t the only one to wonder if West Elm is behind the West Elm Caleb TikTok saga .

ICYMI: A self-proclaimed West Elm furniture designer named Caleb made waves on TikTok and beyond last week for dating casually and unkindly.

West Elm’s PR hasn’t commented. 

But here are some benefits of association with a serial ghoster and romantic-playlist-recycler facing ”out of hand” vitriol from a “TikTok mob.”

It got West Elm a lot of organic interest.

On TikTok, #westelmcaleb has 44M+ views. 

Meanwhile, #westelm has 51M+ views — so West Elm ~2Xed their organic TikTok views since this started on January 11. 

(Searches for “West Elm” also jumped 36% WoW last week, according to Google Trends.)

The story drowned out complaints about West Elm’s products. 

Google “West Elm,” and all the top stories are about West Elm Caleb — not the company’s chronic struggles with late, incomplete and damaged deliveries. 

West Elm is relevant to Gen Z now.

West Elm tried to reach Gen Z and Millennials last summer, with an influencer program that 50% of Retail Wire readers voted “somewhat unlikely” to succeed. 

We don’t have hard data, but West Elm Caleb has to have boosted Gen Z’s awareness of West Elm. Right?

Our takeaway?

We doubt West Elm funded this, but it has an upside for them in unpaid TikTok views, Gen Z brand awareness and more. 

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

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