Here’s a serious question: What even happened in 2021? For what feels like a lot of people, the year that was supposed to usher in a slide out of the Covid-19 doldrums simply came and went in the blink of an eye, with way less of the fêting, debauchery and travel than was promised. Obviously, the fact that we’re very much still in the throes of a global pandemic played a role in the year’s blurriness, but hear me out—could it also have flown by the way it did because we spent way too much time scrolling on TikTok?
After exploding in popularity during the deepest parts of lockdown in 2020, TikTok continued its global takeover apace in 2021, finally hitting the coveted billion user milestone in September of this year. And as Spiderman once famously said, with great power comes great advertising potential (don’t fact check this), which explains the slew of weird #sponsored videos that have been cropping up on TikTok in recent months. If you’re stumped on what to get your loved ones for the holidays this year, investigating their targeted ads is a good, if invasive, place to start. But just in case you don’t feel like stooping to that insane level of sleuthing, here are some of the year’s most coveted gifts, as told by weird TikTok ads.