Tuesday 8 July 2014

Domestic Cat: The Darling of Advertising Agencies

The advert above which is for Three, the mobile network company, encapsulates in many ways how the domestic cat is being used by advertising companies to create a highly positive engagement with the public.

The big question is why aren't dogs and other animals - and there are some really cute animals out there such as pandas - used by the advertising agencies?

I think, if we are honest, that at the moment people don't know the reason for sure, but it seems to me that it all started off with funny cat pictures with captions and then funny cat videos which then progressed to cat celebrities such as Grumpy Cat. In fact, Grumpy Cat was the first big cat celebrity star spawning quite a few subsequent cat celebrities as a means for owners to make money.

The question then really is how did the cat and the internet forge such a fantastic and financially productive relationship? Was it pure luck? Could it equally have been the dog which became massively popular?

Probably not; the truth of the matter is that the cat, through his and her behaviour, especially the kitten, is highly entertaining and cute. The dog is unable to match it, which is rather astonishing because when you compare cats with dogs away from the internet they are on equal footing with respect to popularity (judging by population numbers in the USA, UK and Europe generally).

The advert on this page has been deemed to be very popular in a survey but the cat is only one factor in this advert and therefore I don't think it really states anything new.

However, cats do somehow capture more engagement with people than other domestic companion animals. As stated, I believe this is really about the domestic cat's behaviour which people enjoy on video but we have to set that against that the large number of cat abuse cases perpetrated by people who dislike cats and there are many people like that.

In addition there are many people who own cats who profess to like them but treat them rather badly or neglect them. No doubt some of these people enjoy cat videos and therefore they appear to have a different relationship with the cat on video than in real life. It is a schizophrenic relationship.

I believe, that when the cat is entertaining people he/she is the king -- highly engaging and therefore advertising companies employ the cat to sell products but when the relationship is in the home, in the real world, the relationship between cat and person sours somewhat.

This indicates to me that people do not want to maintain their domestic cat to a high standard but simply want to be entertained by their cat(s).  The burden of maintenance is something that many people are not willing to accept.

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