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A Fishful of Dollars: What Marketers Can Learn from the Gen Z Caviar Bump

If you’re a marketer, you cannot ignore meme culture.

If you’re a marketer, you cannot ignore meme culture.

No, I’m not talking about making tone-deaf corporate memes that shout “How do you do, fellow kids?”

I’m talking about real, organic viral trends. They might seem silly on the surface but– when timed right– jumping on the right meme can mean marketing magic.

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Case in point: The Gen Z caviar bump. A TikTok trend that’s helping brands tap a $465 million global market.

A caviar what now?

If you’re not familiar with the caviar bump, you’ll be thankful to know it has nothing to do with snorting fish roe.

A caviar bump refers to the growing trend of licking a dollop of fish eggs off the back of your hand.

But while it may be trendy, it’s actually not new. Culinary experts say that this is the preferred method of caviar connoisseurs, because it allows you to taste only the eggs (and, of course, the back of your hand).

When you serve caviar on top of other ingredients– like toast, creme fraiche, or salmon tartare– you risk masking the flavor you’re paying so much to taste.

What is new, however, is the traffic that it’s bringing. At the time of posting, hashtags related to caviar bumps were pulling millions of views on Instagram.

The term #Caviar alone is responsible for 1.7 million posts. Not just views. Posts.

Screenshot of Instagram showing 1.7 million posts for the hashtag caviar

So what’s a marketer supposed to do with that information?

Show me the money.

In 2023, global caviar sales were estimated at around $465 million, according to the market research firm Fact.MR.

They project that to grow to $975 million by 2033.

And while TikTok and Gen Z can’t account for all of that, another market research study shows that caviar sales have grown 76% since only 2020.

That timing is hard to ignore.

And it’s definitely not being ignored by restaurants, luxury brands, and even… Pringles?

Wait, what?

My favorite example of a well-timed mix of marketing and meme comes from the popular snack food brand.

In July of 2023, an episode of Real Housewives of New York introduced the world to the pairing of Pringles and caviar. Clips from that episode went on to garner over 10 billion views on TikTok.

That’s Billion with a ‘B.’

Later in 2023, Pringles joined forces with The Caviar Co. to launch the “Crisps and Caviar Flight.”

The $140 tasting kit allows you to finally fulfill your dream of pairing fish roe and dehydrated potato discs.

Pringles and the Caviar Co. tasting kit

Image Source

The result? Marketing Drive reports that the Pringles TikTok spiked to over 21.8 million views immediately after the launch.

And even now, four months later, Google Trends is still showing “pringles and caviar” enjoying 950% growth in search volume.

Google Trends screenshot showing the keyword "pringles and caviar" growing 950%

What’s the lesson?

If you’re not in a caviar-adjacent market, what can you learn from this?

1. Don’t ignore social media.

45% of Millennials and 39% of Gen Z preferred to learn about products through social media, according to HubSpot research.

2. Don’t ignore Gen Z.

64% of Gen Z consumers discovered new products on social media in 2023.

22% bought a product directly from a social media app.

3. Mind the memes.

Trying to predict what will go viral can be as slippery as an eel, but you should keep your eyes on what’s already trending. You never know when you’ll find your Pringles moment.

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