Why TikTok is obsessive about memes of China’s Donghua Jinlong glycine


What’s 2024’s hottest product? According to TikTok, there is just one reply: industrial-grade glycine from China.

Yes, you learn that proper. A Chinese producer of the amino acids, Donghua Jinlong, has discovered sudden on-line fame, with its earnest advertising movies inspiring parodies garnering many thousands and thousands of views and spawning a brand new meme.

“I’m kinda a glycine girly in the intervening time,” one fan stated on X. “Don’t even discuss to me earlier than I’ve had my donghua jinlong industrial grade glycine,” one other stated.

It all began with mundane advertising posts from the corporate’s TikTok account, involving an upbeat voice-over extolling the corporate’s campus and “premium” manufacturing processes. The adverts present B-roll footage from Donghua Jinlong’s manufacturing unit ground, backed with instrumentals and overlaid with daring fonts. The firm’s slogan states its mission humbly: “Glycine comes from right here.”

The joke’s punchline lies in its nicheness: Glycine is an amino acid product utilized in industrial portions to supply pesticides, amongst different makes use of, and most of the people don’t must supply it often. According to consultants on web tradition, the development displays the surreal humorousness that many Gen Z web customers have developed, partly in response to the more and more algorithm-driven curation of social media feeds.

“You by no means know the place memes will emerge from,” stated Idil Galip, a lecturer in digital tradition at Amsterdam University, in a phone interview Tuesday. “The extra surreal the memes, the extra fascinating they change into. The extra area of interest they’re, the extra individuals wish to know what the meme is.”

“The honest, earnest advertising technique of this firm actually opened itself as much as individuals making enjoyable of its random sincerity about glycine,” she added.

A spokeswoman for Donghua Jinlong stated it’s perplexed by its fame within the United States, which was by no means a part of its advertising technique.

“We are so glad and grateful that our commercial has obtained a lot love. But to be sincere, I used to be extra baffled than excited,” Chen Liya, an workplace administrator on the firm, stated in a phone interview Tuesday, including that the unique commercials had been produced by an exterior advertising company.

“We hoped it may present up on the timeline of some potential clients. But going viral in America has by no means been a part of the plan.”

Chen stated that a number of days in the past, a “younger American man” even confirmed up on the firm’s manufacturing unit in Shijiazhuang, northern China: “He was curious what sort of magic we’ve,” she stated. “We gave him a campus tour and instructed him that we provide glycine to companies on an industrial scale and haven’t handled particular person patrons earlier than.”

Donghua Jinlong sells industrial-grade glycine as a “white crystal powder” for makes use of in pesticide manufacturing, water remedy and the electronics trade.

The agency advertises on TikTok, which isn’t accessible in China, as a result of it exports internationally, together with to Japan and throughout Europe, Chen stated. It’s not on Douyin, China’s model of TikTok, as a result of Donghua Jinlong already accounts for round a 3rd of glycine manufacturing capability in China, and “we don’t want commercial for the home market,” she stated.

According to Know Your Meme, parodies of the glycine adverts began going viral in “early 2024.” By mid-April, the trickle had changed into a flood and entered the web’s mainstream. Now, nobody can get sufficient of the amino acid product.

A recurring theme of the parodies is the Donghua Jinlong’s obvious superiority in comparison with its industrial rivals. “I simply can’t do it with these low cost imitators of Donghua Jinlong’s industrial and meals grade glycine,” lamented one TikTok consumer. “They’ve been doing it for years. They’ve perfected their components. Like, why are we attempting to mimic artwork?” Another feigned preventing off tears after admitting that she’d inadvertently purchased an “similar knockoff” product with out realizing.

In one video seen greater than 2 million occasions, a deadpan TikTok consumer encourages customers to purchase the corporate’s nonindustrial glycine. “This is 2024. Donghua Jinlong’s manufacturing requirements have simply been via the roof. I’m telling you — simply check out their pharmaceutical-grade glycine one time, and let me know what you consider it.”

It is, in fact, a joke. According to Chen, Donghua Jinlong can not export the product to the United States due to commerce restrictions.

Galip stated that this type of area of interest humor is a deliberate response to the best way social media feeds have modified over the previous 10 years, turning into more and more curated by algorithms and limiting the management that customers have over the content material they see.

“Previously you selected the content material you adopted and noticed, however as a result of these programs, we get involved with locations that we could not usually interact with,” she stated.

“Most of the tradition that we entry on-line is curated and arranged and ordered, not by individuals themselves, however by these pretty imprecise algorithmic suggestion programs,” she stated. “By introducing an algorithmic curation system to the web — you are taking among the energy that folks have about curating their cultural consumption.”

“The meme itself in all probability emerges from a must parody these random encounters that we’ve on-line,” she added. “In these moments, you get to see meme tradition for what it’s: fairly foolish and even surreal.”

Despite its newfound fame, Donghua Jinlong stated it had not seen any giant improve in gross sales of its merchandise.

But there are follow-up plans within the works. “As a thank-you to our followers, we’ve been considering perhaps we should always add extra movies to point out what glycine is and about its industrial use and advantages to the human physique. We don’t produce other commercialization plans but.”





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