TikTok Partners With Candle Media & Supports Reese Witherspoon’s Search For “Underrepresented Storytellers”


Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media has struck a partnership with TikTok, with an initial focus on Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine to uncover underrepresented independent authors and literary material from the #BookTok community.

Unveiled today at Cannes Lions, TikTok said it will “leverage Candle Media’s storytelling capabilities across its business units to launch new and inspiring premium content and branded entertainment.”

That will begin with the Candle-owned Hello Sunshine element of the partnership, as the pair mine TikTok for authors to support the development of premium film, TV and premium audio projects, thereby “elevating and amplifying underrepresented storytellers and bringing their stories to life,” Oscar-winner Witherspoon said.

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#BookTok is one of the most prominent communities on TikTok and the Chinese-owned social platform will also sponsor the next chapter of Hello Sunshine’s LitUp Writer Fellowship program, giving underrepresented female storytellers funding, mentorship, and marketing.

Candle Media, which also owns Cocomelon maker Moonbug Entertainment, digital publisher ATTN and Latin-focused Exile Content Studio, said it has 600 million followers across social platforms and will become a TikTok Pulse Premiere publisher.

“TikTok continues to experience explosive growth, and has become a critical platform for storytelling and marketing,” said Mayer and Staggs. “We are thrilled to work with the TikTok team to create compelling branded content, and for Hello Sunshine to shine a light on the thriving #BookTok community, which is home to a new generation of storytellers.”

In 2020, former Disney exec Mayer briefly ran TikTok and was COO of Chinese parent Bytedance but he quit after just three months, with reports citing the impact of Donald Trump ordering Bytedance to sell its U.S. operations, which never came to fruition.

The Cannes Lions ad market is taking place in France this week, with talks from Kevin Hart, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Johnson.

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