Khaby Lame: Senegalese TikTok star seals massive world cup ambassador deal

Abu Mubarik October 14, 2022
Internet sensation Khabane "Khaby" Lame, the world’s most followed person on TikTok, is pictured at the official signing ceremony with Ali Rashid Al-Mohannadi, QNB Group Executive General Manager & Group Chief Operating Officer, and Heba Ali Al-Tamimi, QNB Group General Manager Group Communications. Photo: Instagram/qnbgroup

TikTok sensation Khaby Lame has been named as a world cup ambassador for the largest financial institution in Africa and the Middle East, Qatar National Bank (QNB).

The deal is expected to build on QNB Group’s role as the Official Middle East and Africa supporter and Official Qatari Bank of the tournament,” the financial institution said in a press statement. As part of the partnership, Lame was featured in his debut television commercial with QNB Group.

“I am happy to be QNB’s ambassador during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. I believe that I am very similar to QNB, I set my dreams and achieve the impossible. İ look forward to explore the tournament through QNB’s lens and to make unforgettable memories,” said Lame

“Choosing Khaby Lame as QNB’s ambassador during the tournament, reflects the boundless ambition of Qatar by hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. By following his dreams, Lame, much like Qatar, has achieved his goals. We are celebrating together a world where everything is possible,” said Ms. Heba Ali Al-Tamimi, General Manager of QNB Group Communications.

This is not the first major deal the Senegalese-turned-Italian citizen has signed since becoming an internet sensation. He was recently signed by the biggest buying and selling cryptocurrency platform in the world, Binance.

Lame rose to fame during the pandemic for his spin on life hack videos, demonstrating a more straightforward, usually obvious, way to perform the task without saying a word.

Lame is currently the most followed person on TikTok with over 150 million followers. He started off as an industrial worker in Chivasso, Northern Italy. However, when COVID-19 struck, he became one of the many people who got laid off worldwide as a result of the impact of the contagion on businesses and the global economy.

The Senegalese moved from his country of origin to Italy when he was only one year old. In an interview with the New York Times, Lame revealed his successful social media career started when he spent several hours posting comedy clips on TikTok and the clips soon went viral. His most-watched video has over 158 million views.

The clip mocks a fellow TikToker who cut himself free from a car door shearing through his T-shirt. Lame makes the same video but instead of reaching for scissors to cut himself free, he simply opens the door to free himself and shrugs.

According to the New York Times, Lame’s earliest posts were in Italian although he sometimes spoke his native language. “But it was the wordless, expressive reaction clips — poking fun at forks transformed into spoons with tape or defending the sanctity of Italian pizza from a video that proposes Sour Patch Kids toppings — that have catapulted Mr Lame to international stardom,” according to the New York Times.

His rise on the social media platform has been entirely organic and his videos lack professional touch compared to other famous TikTok stars, some of whom have been approached by Hollywood. His content turns to mock or debunks overproduced content across multiple social media platforms.

“He almost represents this authenticity overproduction. I think that’s very appealing at scale to people, this feeling of someone not trying too hard, it’s something that feels authentic,” Samir Chaudry, a founder of The Publish Press, told the New York Times. The Publish Press focuses on covering the creator economy.

Lame told the New York Times that the success of his videos was due to the fact that he speaks a “global language.” “It’s my face and my expressions which make people laugh,” he added. According to him, he has a huge following in Brazil, the United States, and Senegal.

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