Published: 28 November 2016
Dogs may be man’s best friend but the internet prefers cats. Indeed, cats are thought to be the most posted thing online, even more than selfies, which makes me wonder why we aren’t all using this more in our online marketing.
Plus the other day my flatmate bet me I couldn’t write a work blog about cats so here I am.
So, why cats? I wouldn’t like to presume the answer is “they are cute” because frankly I hope we aren’t all that simple-minded. And besides, dogs can be cute too and get far less attention on the net.
Maybe therefore the more pertinent question is, “why cats over dogs?” When I put this question to the world wide web, general consensus was that dogs try too hard. A cat has enough vanity and poise to be endearing and funny all at the same time; they don’t ask for fame and recognition like a dog does.
My favourite theory, from Jack Schofield of the Guardian, is that it relates to the perhaps overly-stereotyped personality of your average web nerd:
"Cats have an independence and playful inventiveness that appeals to the solitary geeks who spend their time writing computer code.”
(As a web development agency, we won’t comment on this.)
Ben Huh, CEO of The Cheezburger Network (that one with all the cat memes) asserted it was more about our ability to see ourselves in cats:
"Cats have very expressive facial and body expressions, so they are a perfect canvas for human emotion, which makes them awesome for captioning and anthropomorphization.”
And then some cats are just a little bit evil... maybe deep down we all relate to that.
Regardless of the reason, there are many famous felines commanding power on the internet - including Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub, Maru, and heaps more. My particular favourite is Nala, a rescue cat from LA who now has 3.1 million followers on Instagram. She’s so popular that you can buy a range of merchandise with her face on it, including phone covers, clothing and cushions. She even attends movie premieres.
Check out the product placement on that.
Which just goes to show, cats on the internet can make good money and not just for cat food brands like Friskies. Thomas Cook recognised this earlier in the year when they released their “Cats On A Plane” campaign.
In short, they stuck a variety of cats on one of their A330 planes and the videos spread around social channels like wildfire.
Persil have also just released their latest campaign, including a social component called #Purrsil (see what they did there), celebrating cats and laundry...
“We all know that social feeds are full of cat content at any given time, so it was vital that our campaign filled social with cuteness for engagement at every touchpoint.” -- Janell Holas, vice president of marketing for the US Premium Laundry Detergents business unit at Persil parent Henkel North America (read full article from Media Post).
So what’s the lesson here? I'd summarise: if you are a business looking for a way to target a broader audience online, cat videos could be your way in... Apparently your product doesn’t even have to have anything to do with cats. Purrfect.