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Apr 3, 2016

Cats – Who Would Have Thought They Would Become a Marketing Tool?

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Maybe it’s because they are such independent pets; maybe it’s because they can be charming and loving and then all of a sudden stand-offish and snooty. Whatever the reason, cats on social media have taken on personalities that we usually attribute to humans and have become a popular element of social media marketing strategies. Posts the include photos, videos and memes of cats are an immediate hit and amazingly shareable, and if there is a way to weave your brand into those posts, how cool for you. Here are some ways that businesses can use this “love affair” with cats in their own content marketing efforts.

Stories – Cats Can Tell Brand Stories Like No Human Can

Probably the first major brand to use a cat as the “star” of its social media marketing campaign was Kia, in 2011, with its campaign for the Picanto, using Henry the Cat as its star. In one video, Henry even took viewers on a tour of the car, pointing out its features. This was all an extension of a TV campaign featuring Henry, but the internet allowed more viewer interaction (e.g., a game that allowed viewers to measure their cat roars against their friends’.)



From this start, cats have roared to success on social media, including:

Cravendale Milk (a British company) with a series of video stories about cats with thumbs





And Bertrum, the cat featured in most of the videos, got his own Facebook page not long after that.

What Kia and Cravendale Milk both did was tap into our fascination with cats and their personalities. They added stories that featured these cats interacting with their brands and became instant social media successes.

Cats Have Emotional Appeal – Connecting Them with Your Product Transfers that Appeal to Your Product

It might be hard to get emotional about an allergy relief product, but when you add a cat to a Twitter or Facebook post, that can change.

Cats Can Project Human Emotions Extremely Well

Capturing cats displaying human emotions, and tying those emotions into a specific promotion can also be a winner:

Happy

(photo: http://wallpaperhdbase.com/)

Sad

(photo: http://wallpaperhdbase.com/)

Angry

(photo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/comedy/)

Evil

(photo: https://linkbeef.com/)

Memes Are Popular with Millennials and Gen Y’ers

Companies that want to keep their products in front of these two generations (huge buying power), or even re-introduce old products to them can use the tools that appeal. Memes, and certainly cat memes, are hugely popular – especially if they are funny, sarcistic and witty. Cheezburger.com was partially launched by this cat meme:



Today, it is a site specifically for the under-40 crowd – one that has been able to attract over $32 million in investor capital and almost 4 million readers.

Cat Memes and Videos Go Viral More Than Any Social Media Post

Large companies have certainly seen the value of using cats in their marketing.

Grumpy Cat
Tard is his real name and he is actually a cat with a deformity (cat dwarfism) that has created the perpetually sour look. Nonetheless, he has taken social media by storm and even large companies are getting into the act. Here are two memes featuring this feline, on from Friskies and one from Cheerios.


(photo: http://www.scoopnest.com/)

The phenomenon has spawned a book:


And a brand of coffee.


While you may not be interested in a Grumpy Cat product launch, there are many ways to introduce cats into your marketing message, ensure that your message and your brand are shared, and reap the rewards of a larger audience. Here a few more examples of companies that have use cats very successfully:

A Few Examples of Great Use of Cats in Advertising

1. The company Three, a mobile phone provider produced this video of a child singing the 1985 hit song, “We Built this City,” as she rides her bike. The cat in her basket is harmonizing with her. Of course it went viral with over 1 million views the first day it aired on YouTube.


(photo: http://www.petspyjamas.com/)

2. For a change of pace, here is a video of a fireman saving a kitten’s life (the video is real).


Fortunately for GoPro, the video was filmed on one of its cameras. It went viral and GoPro got a huge boost.

3. Herding cats has been a phrase use to describe the impossible. Here is a B2B company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS) using herding cats in a video commercial:

(Photos: cornwallseo.com)

EDS took a chance and used satire in this video, showing “cowboys” herding cats instead of cows. It was hysterical, tongue-in-cheek advertising, including interviews with the “cat herders.” The idea was that EDS could create order out of chaos for its customers, but the video’s reach went far beyond potential customers.

How can we leverage our feline friends for world domination?



Graphic courtesy of: Marketo.

Bonus infographic for visual learners:
Why Do We Love Cats So Much? - infographic
infographic source: nowsourcing.

Conclusion
Cats are here to stay and have as yet not been “trumped” by any other animal on social media. While some companies have animal mascots (the Aflac duck and Geico’s gecko), the use of cats is a phenomenon that has surprised most marketers. Using cats in your marketing campaigns can be a big plus, as long as you do it right:

The emotion that you are attempting to evoke from your audience must match your brand and must be appropriate. Certain industries (think funeral homes or casket companies) have to have a fully different type of branding with their marketing, and cats would probably not be a tool. However, serious brands can use levity, sarcasm, and entertainment with cats, as EDS did above. Consider the message you want to send first, and then select from the many cat options you have.

Author`s Bio:
Luisa Brenton is blogger at the EssayGuard. She was born in Italy, graduated from The St. Louis School of Milan and went to Chicago to pursue higher education at the Chicago's Public Research University. Luisa is interested in modern literature and new films. She is interested at journalism as well.

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