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Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards


Entered in TikTok Presence


Complex, part of Complex Networks, champions the people, brands and new trends you need to know now (and will obsess over next) and builds consumer universes around them. It is what a modern entertainment company looks like and what others have followed since its 2002 inception. One of Complex’s core values is being in tune with its audience, and the brand’s social strategy is developed with the fan in mind.


The overall goal for Complex’s TikTok strategy is to increase brand awareness and expand its social footprint in a new space while preserving and strengthening the Complex voice. Complex aims to satisfy its audience’s vast appetite while exposing it to new music and creators. It is a priority for the company to develop a community feel on the platform and continue growing the account in both followers and engagement. From an audience perspective, Complex’s goal is to become the leader in lifestyle on TikTok.

Strategy and Execution

The overarching strategy is to maintain Complex’s social voice while differentiating its content for each platform, and TikTok’s unique features offer opportunity for unique tactics.


Complex creates original content featuring internal talent from its popular video franchises and uses the talent to cross-promote the account on their respective personal social channels. In addition, this original content is also distributed across Complex Networks’ diverse brands and their social channels, a vast online footprint of over 30 million fans.


Complex leverages TikTok’s music licensing guidelines to its advantage by repurposing viral user-generated content with new music/audio to breathe new life into videos. Artist discovery is part of Complex’s DNA, and pairing this content with fresh music exposes users to new tunes and up-and-coming musicians. Complex leans heavily into TikTok’s categories, including oddly satisfying content, to build a strong thematic presence across different genres


The newness of the platform allows Complex the creative freedom to push boundaries and experiment to determine what is successful, all while developing best practices.


Complex was the first Complex Networks brand to join TikTok. Since launching its account in June 2019, Complex saw a 400% month over month increase in total video views across its first three months. In its first 90 days, Complex’s account reached 1 million followers and, as of December 31, developed a community of 2.1 million followers in 2019—a 321% increase from its June launch. The account is larger than most media companies and the brand’s immediate competitors.


In its first month, Complex received 35.3 million total video views across 59 posts. By its third month in September, the account not only passed its million-follower mark but also received 181 million total video views across 168 posts.


Complex’s most-viewed post (a demonstration of how to fix a table using ramen noodles) over-performed with a total of 43 million views. The account has accumulated over 490 million lifetime video views.


At ComplexCon Long Beach in November, Complex launched a hashtag campaign on TikTok called #CheckTheDrip, asking attendees to show off what they were wearing to the event. What started as an event-focused activation immediately exploded into a global action – 400K+ TikTok users created unique videos for #CheckTheDrip, generating 850M+ views as a result, and becoming one of TikTok’s most popular fashion hashtags ever.


Video for Complex

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Complex Networks


Entry Credits