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TikTok's fascination with the 'berries and cream' Starburst commercial has brought back the original 'Little Lad'

INSIDER logo INSIDER 9/9/2021 (Palmer Haasch)
a piece of fruit: An advertisement for Starbursts' "Berries and Cream" flavor from 2007 has resurfaced on TikTok. Glasshouse Images/Getty Images © Glasshouse Images/Getty Images An advertisement for Starbursts' "Berries and Cream" flavor from 2007 has resurfaced on TikTok. Glasshouse Images/Getty Images
  • A 2007 advertisement for Starbursts' "Berries and Cream" flavor has taken over TikTok.
  • The advertisements feature a "Little Lad" who sings about how much he loves berries and cream.
  • TikTokers are making memes about the commercial and imitating the "Little Lad."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The 2007 "berries and cream" Starburst commercials, which star a "little lad" hopping, dancing, and truly gallivanting in the name of the flavor combination, are having a renaissance on TikTok.

"Berries and cream" has become an inescapable refrain on the platform in the past several weeks, but the advertisement campaign has been a cult mainstay online for years.

In the years since, video uploads of the commercials have amassed millions of views on YouTube and now TikTok. They all feature the "Little Lad," played by writer, director, and choreographer Jack Ferver, who sings about how much he loves the berries and cream flavor, frequently interrupting a conversation to do so. In another Starburst featurette, the Little Lad explains that while "mummy's gone," he still likes to do the "Little Lad dance" she made him perform in order to get berries and cream.

Replay Video

According to Know Your Meme, the "berries and cream" advertisements led to a brief wave of remixes and mashups featuring the jingle. Now, over a decade later, the ads are trending on TikTok, and they've even brought the original actor who played the Little Lad into the fray.

'Berries and cream' memes flooded TikTok months after the sound was first uploaded

Many of the "berries and cream" memes on TikTok are concentrated under an upload of the sound that's currently associated with over 75,000 videos. The audio was originally posted to TikTok in January by podcaster and former video games journalist Justin McElroy in a video with the caption, "please make great art with this sound, its [sic] what we all need."

While McElroy tweeted in March that the audio just "didn't catch fire" like he thought it would, it just needed a few more months to pick up on TikTok. In August, the sound began to gain traction, along with the original Little Lad dance.

Early uses of the sound were typically memes about people looking similar to the Little Lad based on bob cuts and attire.

Eventually, "berries and cream" became a fixation of its own, with people making deliberately terrible new takes on the jingle, edits of the Little Lad, and mashups that splice lines from the jingle into well-known songs like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP."

The actor who played the Little Lad acknowledged the trend

Ferver, who played the Little Lad in the original commercials, has since acknowledged the "berries and cream" TikTok resurgence on social media.

"A Mystery... The Little Lad is on TikTok under thereallittlelad," Ferver wrote in an Instagram post on Saturday. "It's strange. After all these years. To see a character I created a hundred years ago... return..... of its own free will.... Doesn't this flower remind you of berries... berries....... and what else?"

A post shared by Jack Ferver (@jackferver)

The TikTok account has racked up millions of views in the span of just several days.

"Oh, hello TikTok! Hearing from you has been just wonderful. I've been so lonely, I'll tell you about it sometime. In the meantime, I'm going to go out and try and make a new friend to sing the 'berries and cream' song with," @thereallittlelad says in the account's second video.

The account has made a point to reply to fans' comments on TikTok with typo-laced, occasionally nonsensical, and rather endearing answers.

graphical user interface, text, application: A selection of @thereallittlelad's replies to comments on TikTok. @thereallittlelad/TikTok © @thereallittlelad/TikTok A selection of @thereallittlelad's replies to comments on TikTok. @thereallittlelad/TikTok

At this point, "berries and cream" has become a late contender for one of the summer's biggest TikTok hits. While the official Starburst TikTok account hasn't yet entered the fray, Justin Hollyn-Taub, Senior Director, US Fruit Snacks at Mars, Inc. (which 0wns Starbursts) called the trend "unexplainably juicy" in a written statement to Insider.

"We... love seeing the creative dance being shared amongst fans. Is anyone available to give us a tutorial on how to dance like this? It has been nearly fifteen years since STARBURST first learned it after all!" Hollyn-Taub told Insider.

Ferver did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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