I haven’t slept in days. My mind has never felt more empty, yet so full all at once. I, at this moment, am in a constant cycle I cannot escape. And my feet hurt so bad. Why?
Because I can’t stop doing the little lad dance for my berries and cream.
Approximately one week ago, a new phenomenon emerged: Berries and Cream TikTok has been taking over the “For You” pages of many unsuspecting victims, and brainwashing them into tippity-tappity little lads. As of now, almost every TikTok song we’ve come to know and love suddenly breaks into a remix of “Berries and Cream” — a song from a viral Starburst commercial released over 14 years ago.
But now, for some godforsaken reason, it’s back with one mission: to take over TikTok once and for all. And I can’t help but to feel its vengeance. Berries and Cream TikTok is warping my reality, and I cannot escape it.
It was simple at first, avoidable even. In 2007, Starburst released an innocent commercial featuring writer and director Jack Ferver in order to advertise their new “berries and cream” flavor. The commercial featured Jack Ferver as a “little lad” who sings a song about — you guessed it — wanting their berries and cream:
“Berries and cream, berries and cream, I’m a little lad who loves berries and cream,” they sing to two uninterested young men while clapping their hands in tandem with a little jig.
Oh, how I’ve grown to fear that song.
The commercial quickly went viral. So viral that Starburst responded to the popularity by releasing a “little lad dance” tutorial with Ferver. The response went viral as well, causing a tidal wave of original memes for the next several years.
But this was in 2007. Why now, 14 years later, is there a berries and cream renaissance? And why is it taking over our minds and social media platforms like some sort of parasitic brain infection?
I don’t know. I don’t know why #BerriesAndCream has over 800 million views. And I don’t know why I keep coming back.
I, for one, see the berries and cream trend as a sneakier, more unhinged version of the “Rick Roll.” TikTok users worldwide are remixing the viral video into some of the most popular songs to date: like “WAP,” “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” and even “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Many creators are going even further by remixing popular TikTok trends (like the “What Does It Mean” trend) and creating some sort of mega franken-trend.
It preys on our vulnerabilities. It infiltrates our favorite ABBA songs. It finds us when we least expect it. Will I ever be safe on my FYP? Will I ever be able to listen to a normal TikTok song without the words “berries,” “little lad,” and “cream” suddenly being edited into the lyrics I know and love?
When will this reign of terror end?
I don’t know.
Until then, I will brave the storm that is my For You page. I’ll hold my breath with each song that I hear, praying to the gods that it won’t be tainted by berries and cream. I’ll try to silence the never-ending loop of berries and cream that plays in the back of my mind, and stop my feet from doing the little lad dance and whispering the lyrics in grocery store aisles and in my college cafeteria.
Stay safe out there. And good luck.