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The Rush to TikTok Fame: #BamaRushTok

Published on September 20, 2021, at 9:00 p.m.
by Alyssa Thomas.

“Hey y’all, I just wanted to show y’all my outfit of the day for philanthropy day two. My shirt is from Panhellenic, my skirt is from the Pants Store, my shoes are Steve Madden, and my jewelry is the usual.”

Sorority Recruitment at University of Alabama
Photo courtesy of UA Panhellenic Instagram

If you have spent any time on TikTok in the last month, you have probably heard this exact same quote or something similar said by several different users as you scrolled through your “For You” page. #BamaRushTok became all the rage when The University of Alabama’s formal recruitment went viral on TikTok during recruitment week back in August.

The university’s sorority recruitment process is the largest formal recruitment in the country, with over 2,500 applicants just this year. Over 2,300 of those women received bids Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.

On philanthropy day one, potential new members (PNMs) began posting their “OOTDs” (outfit of the day) to show off their outfits and accessories to their followers. Initially, the women creating these TikToks made them for their own enjoyment, which quickly became a viral trend. Many TikTok users became obsessed with these outfit of the day videos and eventually became invested in how the recruitment process was going for some of their favorite PNMs.  


♬ original sound – makayla culpepper

A number of brands received recognition from these TikToks. Shein, Steve Madden, Kendra Scott and others received a significant increase in their website traffic resulting in more sales. Local Alabama businesses, such as the Pants Store, gained major social media exposure from this viral TikTok trend. Many immediately started using the viral trend as a new strategy to connect with current and future consumers by forming mutually beneficial partnerships with these women.

Brands like Steve Madden have sent PR packages to women who gained a large following from #BamaRushTok and have them post unboxing videos and try-on hauls on TikTok to share with their followers, along with a discount code for their followers to use.


KENDRA SCOTT HAUL! so excited to be a gem for this school year! @kendrascott ⭐️✨💛 #haul #unboxing #ootd #kendrascott #bamarush

♬ original sound – MADDS AVENUE

So next time you are scrolling through TikTok, be sure to take notice of how many “OOTD” videos and unboxing hauls you see. They might just be some of your favorite brands and businesses reaching out to you as a consumer.

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