TikTok’s latest viral trend has roots in an unlikely source: a 10-year-old Russian cereal commercial.
The video shows a computer-animated llama dancing to a haunting, high-pitched vocal in the desert while bathed in apocalyptic red light.
The childish song is a remix of the jingle from a 2010 commercial for Russian cereal Miel Pops, or Honey Pops.
Its lyrics roughly translate to: “Miel Pops, buzz buzz buzz, buzz buzz buzz. Miel Pops, so delicious, om nom nom. Honey balls for breakfast. Miel Pops, honey drip drip drip, drip drip drip.”
The jingle’s rebirth came when Russian singer Chernaya Princessa uploaded a video of herself singing an acoustic cover of the song. Another user sped up her audio and used it to soundtrack a screen recording of herself playing a video game.
From there, a TikTok user named awa_de_horchata_uwu took the sped-up audio and used it as the soundtrack for the dancing llama — launching a million memes.
Many Spanish-speaking users heard the words “mi pan,” or “my bread,” instead of the Miel Pops name, and incorrectly assumed the jingle was proclaiming one’s love for bread. Many videos using the audio show people dancing with loaves of bread as a result.
Born from the depths of “alt TikTok,” a term referring to the video app’s strangest, creepiest, most surreal corners, the dancing llama has since entered Gen Z’s mainstream consciousness, racking up more than 85 million views.
At a time when few things about the world make sense, it’s hardly surprising that millions of people are finding joy in a nonsensical video of an eerie anthropomorphic llama.
It’s not the first time that Russia has become an unlikely starting point for popular memes. This spring, a group of dancing pallbearers from Ghana rose to worldwide meme fame after a video of their dance was mashed up with a Russian electronica song.