In less than two weeks, Kylie Jenner’s innocuous office tour video on YouTube morphed into a massive TikTok meme, which she’s now turned into sold-out merchandise and a trademark application that would cover even more products.
Jenner filed the trademark application to cover merchandise using the words “rise and shine,” which is a reference to the recent meme. If the trademark application is accepted, it would be applied to dresses, jackets, socks, and even cosmetics, according to the filing. There are already other filings for variations of “rise and shine,” meaning there’s a chance the application will be rejected.
The meme is based on an eight-second clip from a YouTube vlog Jenner published on October 10th that included a tour of her Kylie Cosmetic offices. In the video, she goes to wake up her daughter, Stormi Webster, from a nap. Upon entering an oddly barren room, Jenner sings the phrase “rise and shine,” even though Stormi is already awake and looking around. It’s a bizarre clip, but the audio quickly circulated around TikTok. Even Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors got in on the action.
Instead of shying away from the mockery, Jenner leaned into it. She launched two “rise and shine” hoodies on her personal shop for $65, both of which sold out almost immediately. Based on the trademark filing, it seems like Jenner wants to continue the wave of monetization. On Twitter, where Jenner has nearly 30 million subscribers, she retweeted some of the best TikTok videos. This was followed immediately by a video of her daughter dancing to a lengthened, remixed version of her performance while Jenner cheered in the background. Then, finally, there’s a plug for her new merchandise.
Jenner isn’t the first Kardashian family member to monetize an embarrassing viral meme. Her older sister Kim Kardashian has created a line of successful products based on memes. Kim’s infamous crying face from a scene in Kourtney and Kim Take New York is one example. Her exaggerated, tear-faced crying sequence went on to become apparel. It adorned sweaters and iPhone cases, stickers and laptop decals.
It didn’t stop there, either. Kim then went on to include the face along with other key moments from Keeping Up with the Kardashians — including a scene where she hits her younger sister, Khloe, with a purse during a fight — in an emoji sticker pack. The emoji set, Kimoji, sold in 2015 for $1.99. It was so successful that people assumed problems occurring within the App Store during Kimoji’s launch were due to high demand. Although Apple later denied it, Kim took credit for the App Store malfunction. Kanye West, Kim’s husband, even referenced the success of the Kimoji app in his song, “Facts,” rapping, “We made a million a minute.”
The Kardashians helped kickstart a wave of monetizing embarrassing moments that become iconic in their own right. It’s a facet of merchandising that personalities on YouTube and TikTok also use. YouTuber Shane Dawson is designing an entire eye shadow palette around cringe-inducing moments that happened to him and his friends, for example. Even before that, Dawson’s entire brand was based on self-deprecating memes that helped his career blossom.
It should come as no surprise that Jenner saw a rising trend and decided to capitalize on it as fast as possible.