TikTok’s marketing chief ousted after ‘going rogue’ with bizarre campaigns

TikTok’s marketing chief has been ousted after blindsiding top management with a series of increasingly bizarre campaigns, The Post has learned.

Nick Tran, a former Hulu executive who had been at TikTok for less than two years, got bounced after “going rogue” with multiple stunts that had sought to rope the wildly popular video-sharing app into new business lines including NFTs and restaurants, according to sources close to the company.

Most recently, Tran revealed a plan — apparently without getting buy-in from senior leadership — to launch “TikTok kitchen” featuring foods made popular on TikTok, according to sources who were on a company call following Tran’s ouster.

In late December, news leaked to multiple publications that the tech giant would open as many as 1,000 “ghost kitchens” by the end of 2022. Tran had reportedly planned to partner with delivery service Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC) to deliver dishes across the US that had gone viral on TikTok, such as baked feta pasta.

The restaurant initiative pushed Tran’s already shaky status at the short-form video company over the edge — and he was booted shortly thereafter, insiders said.

“We’re not in the restaurant business and we shouldn’t pretend to be,” one TikTok executive said on a call earlier this month with nearly 200 people from the marketing team, according to a source who listened to the call.

Tran repeatedly blindsided colleagues with the launch of marketing campaigns, The Post has learned.
WireImage

Other half-baked product launches that roiled management included a “creator-led NFT collection” with celebrities including Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch. The project was unveiled in October with great fanfare and received widespread coverage. Tran, however, failed to deliver and tried to sweep it under the rug, according to reports.

Tran also spearheaded TikTok Resumes which sought to place TikTok users at entry-level jobs at multiple employers including Alo Yoga, Target, and Chipotle.

A TikTok senior executive on the call added these campaigns were out of line with the company’s goals and gave the impression TikTok had parted ways after ongoing disagreements about his use of “stunt-marketing.”

“There were just too many side-shows — he was getting ahead of the business,” one person on the call told The Post.

nick tran
The restaurant initiative pushed Tran’s already shaky status at the short-form video company over the edge – and he was booted shortly thereafter, insiders said.
Getty Images for Hulu

TikTok’s global chief operating officer Vanessa Pappas will fill in for Tran until the company finds a replacement.

“We can confirm that Nick Tran is no longer with TikTok and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” a company spokesman told The Post, declining to elaborate.

Tran could not immediately be reached for comment. News of his departure was reported earlier by The Information, a tech news site.

Tran joined TikTok in 2020 from Hulu where he served as Vice President of brand and culture marketing. He also worked in digital marketing at Samsung and Taco Bell. He’s received a slew of awards from Forbes, Fortune, Adweek and AdAge for accomplishments in marketing.