TikTok: Beloved Oz Character or Viral Wiener Campaign?

The skeptical cardiologist wrote about “Hot Dogs, Brats, Music, Nitrates and Your Risk of Cardiovascular Death” 6 years ago but that article did not approach the virality of a recent TikTok campaign celebrating #WienerWednesday:

North American Meat Institute (NAMI) – Last July, to celebrate National Hot Dog Month, NAMI, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, organized a #WienerWednesday campaign on TikTok, the fastest growing social media platform in the U.S. This was the most viral beef campaign on the platform, reaching more than 30 million people and receiving 3.5 million likes. Because of the campaign’s success, NAMI is planning future TikTok outreach efforts in fiscal year 2021.   

For me, Tik-Tok will always be the prototypical robot from L. Frank Baum’s wonderful Oz books, most of which I read to all of my children.

Tik-Tok (sometimes spelled Tiktok) is a round-bodied mechanical man made of copper, that runs on clockwork springs which periodically need to be wound, like a wind-up toy or mechanical clock. He has separate windings for thought, action, and speech. Tik-Tok is unable to wind any of them up himself. When his works run down, he becomes frozen or mute or, for one memorable moment in The Road to Oz, continues to speak but utters gibberish. When he speaks, only his teeth move. His knees and elbows are described as resembling those in a knight‘s suit of armor. Being a machine, he is quite strong, allowing him to single-handedly overpower a whole horde of Wheelers without much difficulty, as demonstrated in a scene of the 1985 movie, Return to Oz.

per Wikipedia

By the way, if you are a fan of the Oz books you must watch Return to Oz. My children and I loved this live-action mishmash of The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz, two of Baum’s best.

Those of you with very young children be warned, however, that it has been described as bleak and creepy and the Wheelers are particularly scary.

Per Wikipedia the Canadian film critic Jay Scott wrote:

“Dorothy’s friends are as weird as her enemies, which is faithful to the original Oz books but turns out not to be a virtue on film, where the eerie has a tendency to remain eerie no matter how often we’re told it’s not.”

My children and I have always been cool with weird friends.

Personally, other than this mention from the beef industry I have no experience with the social media sensation TikTok but if readers care to inform me of its charms please chime in.

Robotically Yours,



9 thoughts on “TikTok: Beloved Oz Character or Viral Wiener Campaign?”

  1. When I see TikTok, my mind immediately jumps to the Harlan Ellison story “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the TickTock Man.


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