There’s no need for polished copy or fancy photo shoots in today’s social media marketing landscape. When it comes to attracting Gen Z attention, anything goes, including a giant cat filter and a plea for help.
That’s exactly the kind of video that skyrocketed a Florida auto shop’s TikTok following from 0 to over 200,000 in a week and a half.
“Guys I lied on my resume and got a job on social media at this body shop please blow this up so I don’t get fired,” read the caption to Clancy’s Auto Body’s first TikTok video, which racked up millions. of likes in a matter of days.
Suddenly, fans were itching to join #ClancysCult, the online following that sprung up overnight when the Fort Lauderdale auto shop wowed viewers around the world.
But Joel Velázquez, the 29-year-old social media manager behind the store’s viral success, didn’t actually lie on his resume. He’s just a millennial who’s taken a Gen-Z approach to humor, which tends to favor content made with the least effort.
“One of the trends right now with young people is that they are lying on their resume and everything, so I mixed that with a cat,” Velázquez said. «I didn’t know the combination was going to be so explosive.»
The virality of the video shocked the store’s founder, Hooman Rafiee, who appears in several subsequent videos as «BossMan». Although Rafiee has no social media experience, his video responses to commenters have amassed nearly 200,000 total likes.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Rafiee said. “I thought she was going to die, but she kept going. I was shocked.»
Velázquez said the strong personal relationship he and Rafiee have built over the years fostered the kind of comfort and trust that encouraged total creative freedom as they sought to build a TikTok brand. The secret to their success, they said, is the genuine ability to waste time without trying too hard.
His videos have been so successful that positive reviews have been pouring in on Google, from viewers who have never visited the store. At this point, the couple said, they can no longer tell which of the reviews are real.
As part of their show of support, #ClancysCult members also requested branded merchandise from the now-famous TikTok auto shop. Velazquez said the merchandise is still in the works, but fans can expect Maxwell the giant cat to make an appearance.
Rafiee said he hopes more community members in the Fort Lauderdale area will pay a visit as local media reports on the store’s success. But any notable increase in customers will have to happen over the long term.
“I think it is too early to tell, because we are a body shop. You have to have an accident to be looking for us,” she said. “But we had a client who specifically said that he came here for TikTok.”
As the views continued to grow and requests from the media began pouring in, commenters began calling out the mastermind behind TikTok videos for a raise. It’s something Velázquez also hinted at in a recent video after being reached out by NBC News. According to BossMan, that’s coming soon.
«Now that we’re doing all these interviews and all these things, we’ve got to update our website and everything, so [Velazquez is] he’s definitely going to be involved with that,» Rafiee said. «So yeah, I mean there will be an increase.»