When cats go native
“Dear Kitten” is the new endearing Friskies ad, so cute that it has shot to viral-status within the first week of its release.
Perhaps the cleverest of Ze Frank’s narrated animal videos, the clip stars a cranky older cat giving prudent advice to his new housemate.
“Dear Kitten: Since I have hissed at you the customary 437 times, it is now my duty as the head of the household to – begrudgingly – welcome you,” says the older cat.
He goes on to explain the dangers of ‘vac-ooms’, the prized underwear drawer and ‘human larva’ who are quite “grabby”.
The video was published through Buzzfeed, one of the first news feed sites to successfully integrate native advertising online, and has already accrued over 7 million views. Part of Buzzfeed’s appeal to advertisers is that its audience has a propensity to share Buzzfeed content around social networks, giving advertisers additional distribution for free – “earned media”.
It’s basically a big ad for Friskies cat food (and you only become aware of the branding message until the end), but this video illustrates how native advertising can be successfully engaging, relevant to the right audience and wildly popular.
In essence, if advertisers produce more content like “Dear Kitten”, people will be more likely to interact, share and enjoy brand messages rather than fast-forward or skip. Though it’s worth noting that since cats do actually run the internet, this is always easier said than done.
So if your brand isn’t cat-centric, the real task is to find what resonates between your brand and the people you’re trying to influence.
It’s all about generously adding value to peoples’ lives. Whether that’s being side-splittingly entertaining to sharing information that is genuinely useful to them, not the brand. Be valued. Be selfless.