Pizza Hut and Twitch hosted a very successful gaming series, the 12 ft. giant skeleton and Baby Yoda are filling people’s homes with holiday cheer, hot cocoa bombs and ornament-shaped boozy bevs are taking over TikTok, Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t quite live up its expectations and players are receiving refunds, and YouTuber Tyler Oakley is taking an “indefinite hiatus” from the platform—plus more youth news to wrap up your week…
In November, Pizza Hut premiered “Friday Night Bites,” a branded series on Twitch that ran every Friday and concluded this week. It was hosted by streamer JERICHO and featured celebrities, influencers, and other gamers playing video games and competing in “pizza-themed challenges.” T-Pain, Logic, and Hannah Stocking are among the guests who appeared on the series—and at the beginning of each episode, they “unveil” their favorite go-to order from the restaurant. According to the pizza chain, each of the first five episodes received over one million live viewers for more than 5.4 million total views and more than 26 million minutes watched. As part of it, viewers and fans who participated in the chats won gift cards from Pizza Hut. YPulse’s Gaming report found that 46% of 13-39-year-olds watch other people play video games, and the viral success of Pizza Hut’s weekly series shows how brands utilizing Twitch as a platform for social engagement can reach millions of consumers—and highlights just how popular gaming content is in general. The move also shows how Pizza Hut are becoming experts at viral marketing. Just last month, the restaurant got attention for their weighted blanket with Gravity, which sold out almost immediately after it dropped.
Holiday decorations are more important than ever this year, as young consumers focus on holiday cheer at home. YPulse’s Winter Holiday Plans report found that 60% of 13-39-year-olds agreed, “I’m going to put more effort into decorating my house/space for the holidays this year”—and they’re getting creative. Remember Home Depot’s 12 ft. giant skeleton who became a viral star during Halloween? Well, he’s sticking around for the winter holidays. Many customers who bought the $300 giant decoration weren’t going to let their money go to waste (or figure out how to store the enormous thing) so some are giving him a holiday update by adding Santa hats or Christmas lights. Meanwhile, the giant skeleton isn’t the only viral internet celebrity getting attention this holiday season: consumers are topping their trees with Baby Yoda in place of angels and stars—and sharing their images across Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms. For those who can’t get their hands on a physical Baby Yoda, Google just rolled out a way for people to beam him into their homes via augmented reality.
While many are decorating their homes with viral stars, others are celebrating with holiday-themed drinks. Last week, we told you about how hot chocolate charcuterie boards were taking over social media, and now hot chocolate “bombs” are showing up everywhere. They’re basically “glossy chocolate orbs” filled with cocoa mix, marshmallows, sprinkles, and other “edible baubles,” and once submerged into a mug full of hot water or milk, open up in a “dramatic fashion” to reveal the goodies inside—creating an overall fancy and decadent cup of hot cocoa. Different forms of the hot chocolate bombs have shown up in cafes, fancy chocolate shops, and luxury retailers (like Neiman Marcus who is currently selling one for $32). One at the Ganachery in Florida’s Disney Springs has gone viral for being shaped like Olaf from Frozen. Homemade ones are also popping up for sale all over Etsy—which include vegan options, ones topped with Oreos, or white chocolate ones shaped like unicorns. On TikTok, the hashtag #hotchocolatebombs has 190.5 million views, while #hotcocoabombs has 75.8 million views. On Instagram, the same hashtags have generated thousands of posts. Videos and photos are filled with users adding touches to their bombs like making them look like reindeers of Santa Claus. Meanwhile, “BuzzBallz” have been everywhere on TikTok too. They’re “little, ball-shaped” cans with alcohol. While the products have been popular on the app since summer, they’re re-emerged now since they resemble holiday ornaments and are small enough to use as “stocking stuffer[s].” So far, the hashtag #buzzballz has 12.1 million views on TikTok. Since the start of the pandemic, young consumers have been experimenting with different food and drink trends—and now, their beverages and concoctions are just getting a holiday upgrade.
CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077, which takes place in the popular Cyberpunk universe where players play from a first-person POV while participating in various hacking and combat-filled sequences, was one of the most anticipated games of 2020—and when it finally dropped (after eight years in development and some initial delays), gamers weren’t exactly all that happy with it. It was immediately hit with negative reviews and “criticism from users over its poor performance.” Across social platforms like Twitter and TikTok (where the hashtag #cyberpunk2077 has 305.7 million views), users have expressed their not-so-good reviews and feelings, and in some cases are making fun of the role-playing action game’s issues. The backlash for the “bug-ridden” game got so bad that earlier this week, both Sony and Microsoft said they would be offering full refunds to customers who bought the game through the PlayStation Store (where it was removed “until further notice”) and the Microsoft store. According to CD Projekt Red, the game (which retails for $59.99) received eight million pre-orders ahead of its launch. But now, thanks to a “disastrous” launch, the developer is losing $1 billion, while CDPR’s stocks have fallen by 33% in Poland’s market (the country where the developer is based). While gaming has been more popular than ever during quarantines, this debacle proves how focusing on functionality and performance is extremely important to players—and that hype and a well-known celebrity like Keanu Reeves (who voices a character in the game and was heavily touted in the marketing) aren’t enough to save a video game.
On Tuesday, OG YouTuber Tyler Oakley released a video (which received more than 277K views) announcing that he is taking an “indefinite hiatus” from the platform after 13 years. In the video, Oakley says that he will be taking the time off to focus on other fun and exciting projects. “I haven’t felt a fun new little thing in a long, long time, so I’m going to try some fun new little things,” he says to the camera. The comments on the video were filled with support from fans, with many looking forward to his next venture. During his time on YouTube, Oakley amassed 7.08 million subscribers, and became known for his “quick comedic styling” and social activism. “If you have been watching since I have been in college, I was 18 when I started and I am now 31. So you can go back and find any single week of my life between those two days and see what I was up to,” he says at one point in the clip. During an interview with YPulse from 2014, he told us that “There was never a moment when I realized, wow this is going to be a career or anything full-time; that was never my intention. It was never the game plan to create something like this, but after it’s happened, it’s crazy to look back at. Oakley isn’t the first longtime YouTuber to leave the platform: Earlier this year, Jenna Marbles quit after expressing regret for her old offensive videos.
Plant parents on TikTok are celebrating their greenery and flora with the hashtag #PlantTikTok, which has 607.3 million views.
A “I think he did it, but I just can’t prove it” meme inspired by Taylor Swift’s new song is taking over Twitter.
Dune’s Timothee Chalamet hosted SNL this week—and he did an impression of Harry Styles, which both their fans loved.
Hilary Duff confirmed that the Lizzie McGuire reboot is officially being scrapped at Disney+.