Retail TikTok refers to parody TikTok accounts and ironic videos belonging to the absurdist trend of anthropomorphizing retail chain stores with emoji eyes and lips. The ironic subgenre began in June 2020 after a Burlington Coat Factory parody TikTok account began uploading memes but kept with the theme of the store brand. Over a matter of weeks, countless brand or product parody accounts appeared on the platform often incorporating deep-fried images and ear rape sound clips.
On May 5th, 2020, TikTok user theburlingtoncoatfactory posted a video image of a Burlington Coat Factory with emoji lips and eyes (shown below). The video gained over 1,500 ikes in two months. The Burlington Coat Factory parody account is the first known TikTok brand parody account to have started this trend.
On June 3rd, 2020, TikToker cowgirlsabrin uploaded a video with the caption “Burlington coat factory tiktok let’s rise” (shown below, left). The video garnered over 214,500 likes in 22 days. On June 4th, TikTok parody account wholefoodsofficials uploaded a video of an anthropomorphized Whole Foods which received over 280 likes in 21 days (shown below, center). The next day, an A&W parody TikTok account upload a deep-fried image of their mascot Rooty (shown below, right). StayHipp published an article on the trend.