Thoughts 06.02.14

Reigning Cats and Dogs

It’s no secret that when it comes to making viral hits, cats, dogs, and the occasional sneezing panda dominate the territory. Over the years there has been much written about the incredible popularity of animal related content, with cat videos garnering most of the attention. According to the totally unbiased cat food brand, Friskies, 15% of all internet traffic is cat related. If you believe everything you hear in parodical videos, that figure is set to hit 90% by 2015.

So animal videos are nothing new, and nor is the use of animals in advertising. The Andrex puppy has been going strong since 1972, and the Dulux dog has served as a brand mascot since 1961. But what is relatively new is the sheer volume of advertising that now contains animals, regardless of their connection to the brand or the brand proposition. Last weekend’s festival of advertising, Super Bowl XLVIII, proved the point. Whilst many of the brands that paid approximately $4m for a 30 second slot opted for a more human focus, it was Budweiser’s kidnapping of an Andrex puppy in their Puppy Love ad that came out on top. 41m views and 1.3m shares later, and it’s become the sixth most shared Super Bowl ad of all time so far. In contrast, Chevrolet’s very people-centric celebration of cancer survivors (in the name of World Cancer Day) drifted by with little engagement from the 108m-strong Super Bowl viewership.

The shoehorning of animals into advertising has become an increasingly familiar sight. Only this week, McVitie’s managed to shove puppies, kittens, and a rather strange looking monkey into a campaign that insinuated McVitie’s products are as sweet as baby animals. A tenuous link perhaps, and whether it’ll help shift more biscuits as a result remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though, if you want to provoke talkability by hitting people round the head with ‘cute’ – cats and dogs still reign supreme.