Social Media & The Evolution of Cats

Repost from the Social Penguin Blog

Cats have really had the internet meme down for quite some time now. When Icanhazcheezburger (or Lolcats) came along in 2007 everyone realized just how much mileage could be made from funny pictures of cats. Many emails and memes shared later (Google Basement Cat for a start) Cravendale have taken that one step further and are trying to start their own internet cat meme, only these guys are going for the viral video campaign (ala Old Spice) instead of cats with captions.

Captions on Cats
Captions on Cats

Cravendale are playing on the very most primal fear of everyone who has ever owned a cat…they’ve given cats opposable thumbs! (God help us) Bertrum Thumbcat is the avatar of these videos, much like Aleksandr Orlov of Compare the Meercat fame, and we can learn more about his devious schemes for world domination through his Twitter and Facebook pages.

In a similar strain to Old Spice Cravendale have started creating a serious of new videos to answer the questions of followers on Twitter and Facebook who have asked questions such as “Can a Thumbcat Blend?“, “Can a Thumbcat review an excellent book?” and “Can a Thumbcat play in goal for England?” (Nice of them to give us poor humans some potential weaknesses to exploit before they try to take over the world.)

What gives this campaign the potential to grow some legs is that Cravendale are encouraging everyone to get involved and send in their own pictures and videos of the their very own thumbcats, potentially prompting the same kind of public reaction that Lolcats had. This campaign isn’t just social either, as Cravendale are also encouraging this campaign through traditional print media too.

It’s hard to say what kind of impact cats with thumbs will have (other than making cat owners lose sleep at night.) It has share value, being funny and it works well with people outside of social media as you feel inclined to pass this on to the “cat people” you know. (Best for them to be forewarned isn’t it?) However Old Spice had two things going for it, it was first and it was an American campaign meaning it was discussed a lot more by the industry and it had a much larger audience. This is the first big campaign that feels like it has been influenced by the things the guys at Wieden and Kennedy did for Old Spice last year. Thumbcats hasn’t really reached that critical mass yet which is why it will be interesting watch and see what has had more of an impact on the campaign, the social media aspects or the traditional media.

Above all things we need to keep a more vigilant eye on our cats, they have plans and they know we’re on to them now. *looks over shoulder warily*


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