What does ‘AS’ mean on TikTok?

TikTok trends are fascinating, and not just because of how the app’s algorithm works. Diving into a rabbit hole on the app means that you can easily find yourself watching loads of videos inspired by fads without knowing what the trends are actually about. Recently, many users found themselves in exactly that situation with the “AS” trend, and without context, most probably had no idea what it meant.

What is the “AS” trend? 

The “AS” videos all follow a similar format. They tend to feature seemingly random footage with a track called “Running Away” by VANO 3000 playing over it. Usually, there will be a caption over the video written within square brackets. 

At the end of the video, [AS] or [Adult Swim] will appear on the screen. This will often be as on-screen text or, in some of the popular videos, the words will be incorporated into the scene somehow. 

This includes writing it on a mirror in lipstick.

Cutting it into a leaf.

Or even spelling it out in cashew nuts.

What is the “AS” trend about?

The “AS” trend references a series of bumpers that Adult Swim used to run at the start and end of commercial breaks. These bumpers often featured random statements overlaid on random footage with chill beats playing in the background. All of these bumpers ended with the iconic [Adult Swim] logo. 

Over the course of the campaign’s life, the statements were everything from motivational slogans and random puns to cryptic messages. Sometimes Adult Swim’s staff would use these bumpers to talk to viewers, giving them hints about upcoming shows or responding to fan comments.

What is Adult Swim?

Adult Swim launched in 2001 on Cartoon Network as the network’s late-night programming block. However, unlike its daytime equivalent, Adult Swim focused on shows and cartoons for older viewers. Its name reflected this, as “adult swim” is the name many leisure centers and swimming facilities give to their adult-only swimming periods.   

The block quickly became a hit and is now a television institution. During its run, Adult Swim has had many hit original animated shows including Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. The block has since expanded to incorporate live-action content, including Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Joe Pera Talks with You, and Off the Air.

The block was also famous for introducing American viewers to international adult animation, including anime series from Japan. Adult Swim was many Americans’ first introduction to legendary shows like Cowboy Bebop, Android Kikaider: The Animation, and Mobile Suit Gundam.

Has Adult Swim reacted to the TikTok trend? 

The trend first began when TikTok users started using the acronym and featured a beat from TikTok producer Vano 3000. The beat actually sampled BADBADNOTGOOD’s “Time Moves Slow” feat. Sam Herring.

How does Adult Swim feel about the trend?

Adult Swim responded to the video on its official TikTok account, posting a video with text that read, “We’ve been talking to you like this for a long time. It’s nice to see you talking back to us. Let’s keep it going.”