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How A Local Chippy Turned Into A Viral TikTok Sensation

By Laina Claydon

Wednesday, 1st of June 2022

If you have TikTok you’ve probably heard of Binley Mega Chippy. The fish and chip shop in Coventry has blown up on TikTok (currently at over 200m views) and even has its own trending song.

A series of videos and memes based around Binley Mega Chippy started popping up on everyone’s FYP, and now there are queues of people eager to try the ‘Morbius Meal’. It has been quoted to have a ‘festival atmosphere’ as there is such a buzz surrounding the shop; sounds like a pretty great experience to go and collect your takeaway, right?

Who doesn’t love the British sense of humour? Surely no other country would make a random suburban chip shop a viral sensation.

While the randomness is what makes it funny, is there something else going on underneath the surface? 

It can be tricky to understand the origins of a viral trend on TikTok, when there’s so much related content and chronologically ranking isn’t an option (except on a profile page). However, with the Binley Mega Chippy trend playing out in real time we are able to unpick it.

@craigskebabhouse (currently 2k followers) started posting videos on the 20th April. Heavily leaning into the lo-fi aesthetic of the platform, it is essentially a budget slideshow of budget UK food and drink items like Rustlers burgers and K Cider. The audio on these posts is a mix of drum’n’bass and happy hardcore, appealing to an audience who like to celebrate the irony of budget British things.

One of these posts on 26th April was a slideshow of chip shops and kebab outlets including ‘Jason Donervan’ (genius), ‘Phil’s Yer Tum Fish & Chips’ and, of course, ‘Binley Mega Chippy’.

From here, on 18th May, an account called @binleymegachippyfan53 (currently 8k followers) started an appreciation account of BMC, with each video consciously utilising viral sounds, referencing Stella Artois, Anime and also tapping into macro mainstream British news – with references to Prince Philip (341k views). Combined with the Queen’s imminent Platinum Jubilee celebrations, this awareness of topical news may be a factor.

Further to this, there is another trend that has been taking place for a while; ‘Blokecore’ – recently picked up by fashion magazines as well as mainstream media, the trend took a foothold on TikTok, and has spilled out onto the streets, with young guys in particular wearing 90s football shirts to go to the pub even when there is no football on TV. There is some psychology behind this too; in a time when people are coming back together ‘post-covid’, wearing clothes that are nostalgic and a celebration of coming together as a group of friends feels relevant. 

@nicksfits My guide to Bloke Core! Love this “trend” because I love the sport!U should get into it too! I’ll tag Lukas in the comments as well! #greenscreen #fashion #fashiontiktok #blokecore #fashioninspo #fyp #fashion101 ♬ original sound - Nick Ramos 🃏

Another aspect, which plays a part, is that Coventry, where Binley Mega Chippy is located, happens to have just hosted Radio 1’s Big Weekend and is also this year’s UK Capital of Culture. With increased attention on the city, while surely deserving, Coventry on the surface is potentially not an obvious choice for celebrating culture, so perhaps the timely rise in fame of Binley Mega Chippy comes with a sense of irony.

As for the audio (sonic branding can do wonders for a brand FYI), there is a feeling of familiarity to it, but it’s quite hard to place. Upon closer inspection it sounds very close to ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ – another British classic (side note: this song is originally French, but adopted by the British). This is combined with the familiar text-to-audio voiceover making it feel native to TikTok.

A viral video is hard or even impossible to predict and engineer, however, wider trends and macro news events can provide the foundations and relevance that enable virality. Being aware of these is key to being agile. Who knows, maybe Binley Mega Chippy chips will collab with McCain and soon be available to buy in supermarkets. You heard it here first.