Fresh purr-spective in advertising

We all know the Internet and social media have opened a variety of new ways to reach customers. Although traditional marketing methods continue to be utilized in the digital age, the online era has introduced us to the viral message. Viral messages tend to either come from or become part of pop culture. With this in mind, campaign themes are evolving to where virality is a new priority.

For example, a great campaign for Wonderful Pistachios used pop culture references like Psy at the peak of his “Gangnam Style” stardom, or the mobile game, Angry Birds. Consumers saw these familiar references and their tongue in cheek intentions.

But while these commercials can quickly become outdated, there is one tactic that continues to resonate with audiences – cats being cats.

They’re not just selling litter and cat food – from cars to IKEA furniture, cats have become a powerful marketing tool. As a cat-lover, these advertisements obviously appeal to me and (most times) put the companies that use them in a paw-sitive light. But even non-cat lovers can be swayed by a humorous way to reach a consumer.

A recent Truth campaign used this tactic to raise awareness about the dangerous affects of cigarette smoke on pets using both cats and dogs. They used hashtags (#Catmageddon) and the threat of no more cat videos to inspire the call-to-action.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLtschJxRy8

On the other hand, the IT company EDS creatively used cats in their campaign to define their differentiation. The expression “like herding cats” comes to life in this famous Super Bowl commercial.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_MaJDK3VNE

esd knows how to implement this memorable approach in campaigns to help clients stand out. For the campaign to promote ER services for Methodist Health System during the Fiesta season, we created artwork with piñatas – a recognizable visual of the local culture. However, to make the connection with the hospital, the piñata was wrapped in bandages (since they are usually broken for the treats inside). The image was used for all types of marketing channels – from websites to billboards.

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You might say this is just like “thinking outside the box” – which ironically is hard for a cat. Just remember, the power of your reach can also be in the paws (er, hands) of the consumer. Think of what appeals to them and see how you can make it connect to your brand (it doesn’t have to be cats, purr se).

We practice thinking beyond the obvious to create unique and engaging campaigns. With this type of brainpower, you might just be the next viral sensation, which translates to free advertising. Meow that’s extraordinary!


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Kristen Villarreal is a part of the account service team for esd. When she’s not herding cats with her colleagues, she loves to spend time with her boyfriend and their Tuxedo cat, and all the others cats in her life (along with their owners too).

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