Offbeat Reaches More Than 240 Million Views With Viral 'Toxic Trait' Effect on TikTok

February 25, 2022

The creative minds and trend-focused team here at Offbeat are behind the viral ‘Toxic Trait’ filter, we caught up McKenzie, the creator of the effect for the inside scoop.

Have you seen the ‘Toxic Trait’ filter pop up on your TikTok fyp? It’s a filter that shows a square with rotating options for a ‘trait’ and is meant to tell the wearer what their toxic trait is, or the thing about them that makes them “toxic.” 

The filter, created by one of Offbeat’s Creative Content Associates, Mckenzie Rankin, went viral across TikTok with hundreds of thousands of videos and a couple celebrities jumping on board as well. In less than one month, more than 800k unique videos have been created using this filter, and it has reached over 240 million total views. Some of the biggest TikTok celebrities, like Chris Olsen, Noah Beck, Emily Zugay, Hank Green, and even singer, Rita Ora, have used the filter and shared with the world their toxic trait!

We caught up with McKenzie to find out more about the inspiration behind the TikTok filter, her thoughts on its popularity, and her future plans to create more filters for TikTok!

Q: First of all, can you explain what a toxic trait is?

M: “A toxic trait can be thought of as similar to a personality flaw or "red flag." A toxic trait, though, is usually self-diagnosed and, consequently, is not typically meant to be taken seriously. For example, one may say their toxic trait is something totally innocuous e.g. only liking chicken tenders and fries. However, some may identify theirs as a more harmful behavior e.g. being too controlling, always overthinking, etc.”

Q: What inspired you to use the concept of “toxic treats” to create a TikTok filter?

M: “If you spend any time on TikTok, then you know there's already a large presence of discussion on toxic traits, red flags, etc. Truthfully, "toxic" is a bit of a buzzword in internet culture at the moment. To put it in perspective, Oxford Dictionaries named “toxic” its 2018 word of the year, and I'd venture to say the usage of "toxic" in areas such as pop culture/pop-psych has only grown. So, while brainstorming for these effects, I wanted to capitalize on a topic that I knew would be relevant, relatable, and in line with trends already happening on the platform/social media in general. Voila, the idea of a "What's Your Toxic Trait" filter was born.”

Q: Why do you think this filter blew up in less than a month?

M: “My intuition is that the filter took off for two main reasons. One, the preexisting popularity of discussing/posting about toxic traits on TikTok made the lens a highly attractive content creation opportunity for users. Two, there's a phenomenon in psychology known as “The Barnum” effect. In a nutshell, this occurs when individuals believe that personality descriptions apply specifically to them (more so than to other people), despite the fact that the description is actually filled with information that applies to everyone (think, horoscopes).”

“The toxic trait lens is an example of The Barnum Effect at play. I purposely created highly relatable traits such as "Taking a nap to procrastinate," "Bringing up the past," and "Iced coffee dependence." When we see these results, our first reaction is to think "Whoa, that's SO me." When in reality, these common behaviors describe pretty much everyone.”

Q: Do you plan to create any more Effects?

Mckenzie: “Yes! We've already rolled out a few new effects such as "Which Bottled Water Are You?" and "This Is Your Sign To...." on @Humor's TikTok. More are in the works, so be sure to follow and keep an eye on both @puberty and @humor on TikTok!”

At Offbeat, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of the cultural conversation. We strive to be the leaders in social media innovation; infusing our clients into today’s trends and, in this case, even creating them for our owned media properties.

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