TikTok and music duo Party Shirt want to end DST

The seasons change, the billboards too.

The old “h” billboard has a new message: “End Daylight Savings with @partyshirt”.

Last summer, the deceptively simple billboard above Alico Road hid a complicated if good-humoured story. Naples teenager and TikTok creator John Casterline has teamed up with LA-based music duo Party Shirt (featuring Australian Xavier Di Petta and Californian Nick Iavarone) to promote their single ‘Dancing Tonight’.

‘h’:The story behind the billboard

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John Casterline, 16, of Naples, poses for a portrait in front of a billboard that features just a lowercase h off Alico Road in Fort Myers on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Casterline, who has about 213,000 followers on Tik Tok, started a trend on the platform that culminated with Los Angeles-based music duo Party Shirt paying to view "h" on the digital display panel.

Party Shirt offered Casterline a deal: if he could help their single reach a target of 420,069 streams on Spotify by July 1, they would pay for the billboard. Long story short, they didn’t hit the mark at the time, but Casterline’s popularity on the video-sharing platform, where he posts under his handle @h1t1, skyrocketed. Since July 2020, it has grown from 213,000 subscribers to over 3 million. (And today, “Dancing Tonight” has over a million streams alone.)

Party Shirt, for its part, also gained even more followers (they now have 20 million subscribers on TikTok) thanks to a series of “Fact or Cap” videos in which they experimented with viral video topic material. to see if they were true or false.

Di Petta said that after reflecting on some of the successes they’ve had, he and Iavarone thought about what cause or effort they’d like to support. They settled on sanity, but wanted to dig deeper into an underlying cause Di Petta and Iavarone were dealing with.

“When daylight saving time ends in November, seasonal depression kicks my ass,” Di Petta said.

He wouldn’t be alone: ​​A 2017 study published in the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology’s Epidemiology traced the relationship between daylight saving time and depressive episodes. He found, in part, that the transition was associated with an increased incidence rate of depressive episodes.

“Distress associated with the sudden advance of sunset, marking the arrival of a long period of short days, may explain this finding,” reads the study’s abstract.

A Florida billboard this month pleads for the end of DST.

So Party Shirt bought the billboard again with a more meaningful but less cryptic message than “h”: The message is part of a campaign they’re working on to eliminate seasonal daylight saving time. The ultimate goal is to elevate the issue to the national level and eliminate the practice of “stepping out” of calendars across the country.

“If we can accomplish that, I think it’s amazing,” Di Petta said. “I think we can all do it together.”

Previously:Daylight Savings Time: Backward, always leaping forward – here’s how it could change in Florida, country

“We” includes Casterline whom Di Petta called asking him to revisit the refreshed billboard to create more content and leverage his own followers.

“We’re so lucky to have this kind of platform where we’re allowed to start fundraisers or have our voices heard,” Casterline said. “It’s great, and we have to take advantage of it.”

It’s also a poignant reminder of the strength of the younger generation, Casterline said.

“I would like them to know how powerful this generation, these younger generations really are and how much we are capable of,” he said. “People don’t realize how much a video, a post can affect someone’s entire life.”

Maybe one day the sun will never set at 5 p.m. again — and maybe you can thank TikTok for that.

Andrew Atkins writes about food and reporting for the Naples Daily News. Contact him by email at [email protected] To support work like Andrew’s, consider subscribing: https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/

Elizabeth J. Harless