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7 Brands That Became Unexpectedly Cool

There’s plenty to discuss regarding TikTok and its profound influence on our culture. One particularly fascinating aspect of this social media powerhouse is its uncanny ability to catapult influencers, products, and brands into viral sensations almost instantaneously. With a new generation at the forefront of the TikTok movement, it’s common to see users stumble upon brands that have been in existence for ages. Once uncovered, these brands are swiftly propelled into the spotlight, deemed the “must-have” item of the moment by TikTokers. This sudden surge in popularity can transform what was once overlooked into something incredibly trendy. Alternatively, TikTok users often ingeniously reimagine the use of products, injecting fresh vitality into their functionalities, and consequently driving sales through innovative applications. 7 Brands That Became Unexpectedly Cool.

Looking for examples? We’ve got you covered! From previously overlooked brands skyrocketing in popularity and flying off the shelves at retailers nationwide to iconic brands from decades past experiencing a revival, here are some brands and products that have received a modern makeover, all thanks to TikTok users propelling them into viral sensation status.

CeraVe – 1 of 7 Brands That Became Unexpectedly Cool

bottle of cerave
Image: Walmart.com

Origin story: CeraVe, a drugstore brand introduced in 2005, swiftly gained favor among dermatologists due to its straightforward formulations aimed at replenishing the skin barrier. Despite its initial lack of glamour, its efficacy garnered widespread recognition.

Why it became cool: 

Several factors converged favorably for the brand, including the endorsement of renowned ‘skinfluencer’ Hyram Yarbro, the societal shift post-pandemic towards minimalistic skincare regimens, and the economic climate prompting a search for budget-friendly skincare alternatives. CeraVe, recognizing its burgeoning cult following, strategically capitalized on its newfound popularity by bolstering its social media presence and making a bold move with a substantial Super Bowl commercial featuring actor Michael Cera.

The signature product: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser 

CeraVe offers a diverse range of cleansers tailored to different skin types, but this particular viral best-seller stands out as universally beneficial, catering to all skin types with exceptional efficacy. In a market where many cleansers tend to strip the skin, leaving it parched and tight, this hydrating cleanser emerges as a revolutionary solution, especially for individuals with dry or sensitive skin, ensuring optimal hydration and comfort.

Stanley 

Image: Amazon

Origin story: If you’ve ever made a purchase from Stanley’s official website, you may have observed that it bears the domain name stanley1913.com. Wondering about the significance of ‘1913’? Well, that marks the year when this venerable company was established. With a history spanning over a century, Stanley gained renown for its robust and enduring metal thermoses, which found favor among construction workers, outdoor enthusiasts, and even pilots during World War II, owing to their reliability and resilience.

Why it became cool: What a stark difference! Now, the cup has become an essential item for soccer moms, cheerleaders, and middle schoolers nationwide. And how did this happen? Once again, we owe it to social media. Following posts from influential figures, the cups swiftly became coveted by every female demographic. The buzz surrounding the cups ignited a craze, leading to certain colors flying off shelves at retailers, with scarcity only fueling the viral frenzy further. Some enthusiasts even schedule their calendars around specific collection drop dates.

The signature product: Stanley 40-oz Quencher
The iconic Stanley Quencer cups, famous for their timeless design and durable construction, are available in both 30 oz and 40 oz sizes, with the latter being the preferred choice for many Stanley enthusiasts. In the past, the color options were mostly understated hues, but the recent releases feature a range of vibrant shades that are in high demand, with colors like Barbie-pink flying off the shelves within minutes. If you haven’t caught wind of the Valentine’s Day 2024 Stanley craze at Target stores, it’s worth looking into for an enlightening read.

Carhartt

Image: Amazon

Origin story: If the name Carhartt doesn’t ring a bell, it’s likely familiar to your dad, your plumber, or that friend who maneuvers a bulldozer. Carhartt isn’t kidding around; it’s been a mainstay since 1889, crafting authentic men’s workwear such as rugged overalls, sturdy jackets, durable dungarees, and cozy beanies.

Why it became cool: The rise of workwear gained momentum, especially within hip hop and streetwear communities. Carhartt experienced a significant boost in popularity when celebrities like David Beckham and Rihanna began sporting their beanies and jackets, sparking a viral trend that has endured over time.

The signature product: Men’s Knit Cuffed Beanie

The Carhartt beanie has attained iconic status, bestowing upon its wearer an unparalleled level of street cred, attributed to the esteemed lineage of Carhartt enthusiasts who have preceded us. The beanie is a favorite accessory among a diverse range of personalities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Harry Styles, Bella Hadid, and A$AP Rocky, who consistently showcase its appeal.

Vaseline

Image: Amazon

Origin story: Debuting in 1870, Vaseline swiftly became a staple found in practically every American grandma’s household, nestled beneath the bathroom sink. Originally associated with utilitarian purposes and individuals indifferent to fashion, its reputation underwent a transformative shift in recent times.

Why it became cool: Here’s one word for you: Slugging. This skincare trend involves applying a generous layer of petroleum jelly before bedtime to wake up with intensely hydrated and radiant skin. Originating in Korea, it gained widespread popularity on TikTok in the US back in 2022. Despite efforts by the Vaseline brand to introduce more visually appealing products, the classic petroleum jelly has remained as trendy as ever, often compared to the popularity of brands like Drunk Elephant.

The signature product: Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly 

Arguably the most effective occlusive balm available, Vaseline creates a barrier on the skin that locks in moisture, aiding in keeping the skin adequately hydrated. This is why it has been a trusted remedy for treating cuts, scrapes, and healing dry lips and cracked heels for years. Now, it’s gaining prominence as a key player in the popular #slugging trend.

JCPenney 

Image: JCPenney

Origin story: JCPenney made its debut in 1902, quickly becoming a cornerstone in shopping malls and a beloved fixture in small towns nationwide, often affectionately referred to as “Penny’s.” Whether it’s elegant Sunday attire, stylish golf-inspired menswear, classic “slacks” reminiscent of your grandmother’s era, or cherished family portraits captured in their portrait studio, JCPenney has been a reliable destination for all these needs over the decades. 

Why it became cool: Following the conclusion of Sephora’s collaboration with JCPenney and their subsequent transition to Kohl’s, JCPenney underwent a significant transformation by establishing its own captivating beauty department. Demonstrating remarkable prowess, they assembled a team well-versed not only in beauty products but also in the preferences of beauty enthusiasts. This strategic move enabled them to curate an enticing array of brands, including both emerging favorites and established trends, resulting in a beauty destination that resonated deeply with aficionados of cosmetics and skincare alike.

The signature product: The JCPenney Beauty Section

TikTok users have taken notice of the offerings from the JCP beauty department, prompting a surge in people heading to their nearest JCPenney stores to explore coveted brands such as KimChi, Cosrx, Lime Crime, Youthforia, and the much-admired Thirteen Lune partnership. This collaboration highlights BIPOC and female-owned beauty brands, further amplifying their appeal.

Ugg

Image: Amazon

Origin story: The Ugg brand traces its origins back to 1978, though unless you resided in SoCal, where the surfing community enthusiastically embraced these boots, they likely weren’t on your radar until the early 2000s. Picture this scene: it’s the year 2000, and we’ve successfully navigated past the initial Y2K concerns. You’re flipping through the pages of CosmoGirl magazine, spotting images of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Katie Holmes, and Beyoncé, all sharing a common fashion staple: fur-lined, calf-length Ugg boots. During that era, Uggs became synonymous with every teen idol and It Girl, prompting tweens and teens everywhere to fervently plead with their parents for a pair.

Why it became cool: As fashion trends evolved, following the decline of the Uggs craze in the early 2000s, Ugg boots reverted to their previous status: merely one among many boot brands, lacking prominence in the fashion scene. However, unlike numerous other brands discussed in this article, the resurgence of Uggs was not accidental or reliant on fortuitous influencer endorsements. Rather, the Ugg design team actively undertook efforts to revitalize and contemporize their footwear, strategically positioning it to reclaim relevance and competitiveness within the fashion landscape.

The signature product: Ugg Classic Mini Platform 

Ugg’s deliberate and strategic design efforts yielded significant attention from industry leaders, highlighted when Bella Hadid was captured wearing the latest classic mini platform Ugg. Known for setting trends, Bella’s endorsement sparked a viral sensation, causing the Ugg Mini Platforms to swiftly sell out, establishing them as the coveted fashion accessory for all.

Aquaphor

Image: Amazon

Origin story: Introduced in 1925, Aquaphor initially catered exclusively to medical professionals until the early 1980s, when its Healing Ointment debuted in the consumer market. Since then, it has garnered widespread recommendation from numerous pediatricians and dermatologists, serving as the go-to remedy for eczema in infants and children. Beyond medical applications, it has become a staple in restaurant kitchens for treating cuts and burns, while also gaining popularity among makeup artists who rely on its versatility, using it for tasks ranging from priming eyelids to achieving a subtle, natural highlight.

Why it became cool: Once more, TikTok proves its influence! Concepts such as “skin sealing” and “slugging,” along with a broader appreciation among the public for safeguarding our skin barrier, are driving influencers to divulge tips gleaned from both professionals and personal experiences. Moreover, the post-pandemic inclination toward minimalism and cost-effectiveness adds another layer to this phenomenon.

The signature product: Aquaphor Healing Ointment 

This versatile skincare essential is a multitasking marvel, blending petroleum jelly, lanolin, glycerin, and B5 to effectively alleviate various dry and itchy patches. Its versatility shines as TikTokers employ it for myriad purposes, including makeup removal, enhancing makeup longevity as a primer, and crafting personalized lip gloss by simply mixing with lip liner.

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