If you're on TikTok, or if you live with or love someone who's on TikTok, you've probably heard the "berries and cream" song by now. It goes something like this: berries and cream, berries and cream, I'm a little lad who loves berries and cream! (And if you haven't heard it, yes, it's as unhinged as it sounds. Just listen to it.) Maybe you've heard the million and one "berries and cream" remixes on TikTok, or maybe you've just heard your roommate bellowing about being a little lad from the next room. Maybe you're like me, and it's been stuck in your head for five days and you have no idea, no idea, what the hell this song is, where it came from, or how you'll ever get away from it. Welcome to the "Berries and Cream" TikTok community—we're happy to have you.
What is the "Berries and Cream" song?
It all started with an innocent-enough Starburst commercial. Back in 2007, Starburst released a "berries and creme" flavor (which you can still buy, if you're so inclined) and a moderately unhinged commercial to go with it. The commercial featured actor and writer Jack Ferver (who uses they/them pronouns) doing a little dance about, well, being a little lad who loves berries and cream. Behold:
The "berries and cream" song went viral quickly, even though "going viral" had a very different meaning in 2007 than it does in 2021. Mostly, according to Know Your Meme, the song and its various remixes existed on YouTube. Starburst responded by releasing a second, extended commercial with Ferver called "The Little Lad Dance":
Ferver says in the extended clip, "When I was a little lad, if I wanted berries and cream, Mummy made me do the little lad dance. Now Mummy's gone. But I still like to do the little lad dance." If those lines sound familiar, it's because those are the lines often remixed on TikTok, in addition to the "berries and cream, berries and cream!" song featured in both the original commercial and the extended clip. And by "song," I mean "line that is now stuck in your head forever."
Know Your Meme explains: "Over the late 2000s, YouTubers would create multiple remixes and mash-ups of the original commercial." It goes on to explain that "berries and cream" mostly faded into obscurity...until 2021.
What is the "Berries and Cream" TikTok trend?
Per Know Your Meme, podcaster and comedian Justin McElroy kicked off the trend with this TikTok in January:
It took a few months for the trend to catch on. By mid-September, however, per Mashable, tens of thousands of TikTok videos featured variations of the "berries and cream" song, with the tag #berriesandcream boasting more than 300 million views.
At first, it was just creators singing and dancing or posting captions with the original song. The "berries and cream" song and the Little Lad are a catchy combination of cottagecore—the bowl haircut, the embroidered collar— and nostalgia. So at first, the joke was mostly that those creators were giving off big "little lad" vibes.
And then the trend...evolved. When creators began mashing up popular songs and well-known audio clips with the "berries and cream" song, and other creators began posting videos with the new audio they'd found, that's when "berries and cream" really took off. Some creators dedicated their TikTok accounts to creating new "berries and cream" remixes. Other creators went viral rating the "berries and cream" remixes.
What has the "little lad" had to say about it?
Per Insider, Ferver created a TikTok account—@thereallittlelad—and thanked fans old and new of their "berries and cream" song. Their TikTok tagline? "I love Berries and Cream. Do you want to dance with me? Mummy’s gone." Already, they have 1.5 million followers and counting.
They also posted new songs with the same theme of "Mummy's gone":
A personal favorite about "Mummy":
Ferver also made a cameo on Catfish host Nev Schulman's TikTok:
As for McElroy, who started this whole fever dream-slash-nightmare, he's well aware of what he's unleashed on the world:
Adweek also touched base with the creators of the original ad, with creative director Gerry Graf explaining: "It’s made for TikTok. It’s the first TikTok dance—that we just happened to create for YouTube.”