Why Tractor Supply Company made its TV ad to look like TikTok

Tractor Supply Company, a retailer founded in 1938, launched a new campaign and is putting 100% of the ad spend budget for this program towards Paramount’s TV channel. The company’s new “TikTok style ad,” debuted on the premiere of Yellowstone on Nov. 13, is part of a push to build brand awareness.

The idea was to capture attention around Yellowstone, which airs on the channel prior to other streaming services. Furthermore, the brand wanted to highlight a “rural lifestyle” said Kimberley Gardiner, CMO at Tractor Supply Company.

Lainey Wilson, a country singer and actress, is featured in the new ad, showing footage of her growing up and her current life and how it influences her music.

Although the financial agreement between the brand and Wilson was not disclosed, the brand wanted a distinct, creative format that was also authentic to Wilson and her approachable, down to earth style that serves as inspiration for her songs, according to Gardiner.

As a result, a TikTok-style ad — meaning vertical — was suggested and the brand selected Wilson due to her matching its core values. It is the first time that the brand produced an ad in the style of the social platform.

“As we’re expanding that appeal to a younger, more female and diverse audience, an up-and-coming artist like Lainey Wilson is a natural fit,” said Gardiner.

The spot is running throughout this season of Yellowstone, which will air until early January 2023. Also, during the Yellowstone season premiere, Wilson shared the spot on her TikTok page, where it has over 4.8 million views. Additionally, the spot was shared organically on the brand and Wilson’s Instagram accounts as a Reel on the same day as it currently has over 232,000 viewers. “We’re expanding our footprint across digital channels in ways that help consumers discover Tractor Supply in fun and engaging ways,” said Gardiner.

According to Gardiner, all the paid media spend was allocated to TV spots on Paramount. “We already had TV media dollars committed to Paramount as part of a larger sponsorship of Yellowstone,” said Gardiner. With that said, it is unclear how much of Tractor Supply Company’s advertising budget is allocated to this campaign as Gardiner declined to share budget figures. According to Pathmatics data, the brand spent close to $17.8 million so far on advertising in 2022. Gardiner also said the brand may invest in social ad spend in 2023 with YouTube and TikTok.

Platforms such as TikTok are becoming more popular with Gen Z, so brands should convey authenticity with their storytelling with its target audience to succeed, according to marketers.

“It’s so important that brands connect with younger generations showcasing short-form content that quickly tells a story in an authentic way,” said Lauren Petrullo, CEO and founder of digital marketing agency, Mongoose Media. “The more native your ads look, the more successful they’ll be to the brand’s bottom line.”

The season five premiere of Yellowstone was also viewed by 12.1 million viewers overall and Lainey Wilson’s spot has earned 40M impressions across linear TV to date, according to TV ad measurement tool iSpot tracking.

Allen Adamson, co-founder of the marketing company Metaforce, added that this campaign is also aligning with the trend for brands to showcase authenticity, adding that the “social media-type ad will powerfully connect with their customers.”


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