Ad of the Day: Purina Cat Chow

Being a cat person does not (necessarily) mean you're crazy

The dog people had their moment in the sun earlier this year with Leo Burnett's tear-jerking "Inside Every Good Dog Is a Great Dog" spot for Purina Pro Plan. Now, it's the cat people's turn.

Purina Cat Chow gave cat lovers plenty to get choked up about during the Academy of Country Music Awards telecast on Sunday, airing a 60-second spot (by Checkmark and Resource Interactive) starring cat owners from all walks of life talking about how their cats are special, and make life that much more meaningful. It's a preposterously simple idea: appeal to cat owners by getting other cat owners to say how awesome cats are—an emotional play honoring an emotional relationship. The wrinkle is that, unlike Burnett's spot about dogs—which was straightforwardly heartwarming—the cat owners here are aware that their choice of pet is looked upon with suspicion by a large portion of the population. Indeed, the very phrase "cat person" is itself a loaded term.

The cat people address this in the ad, with lines like: "We're not crazy cat ladies." "Not an ice-cream-eating, nightgown-wearing crazy cat lady." "We're smart." "We're beautiful." "People who think cats are the best pets in the world." "And yeah, some of us are even guys." If you feel like they're protesting too much, well, you're probably a dog person.

Sunday's spot invited viewers to tweet their reason for being a cat person using the #catperson hashtag. Those tweets are being streamed live on two billboards in Times Square through today—and the brand has been sending TwitPics of many of the Times Square tweets to the people who wrote them. (Some 2,600 #catperson tweets were logged last night, 1,800 of them immediately after the commercial ran—briefly making the list of trending topics.)

It's a smart, simple strategy, competently executed. Just don't read the transcript of the two-minute version of the ad, posted with the video on YouTube (and reproduced below). If those aren't the ramblings of a bunch of crazy people, I don't know what is.


Client: Purina Cat Chow

TV Spot: Checkmark; Resource Interactive

Digital Agency: Resource Interactive

Media Strategy, Buying: Zenith (negotiated the billboards)

Powered the Twitter Stream: Mass Relevance

Powered the Billboards: Orange Barrel Media

Transcript of the two-minute spot:

"I am a cat person

I'm a cat person

I'm a cat person

I'm a cat person

I'm a cat person

I'm a cat person

I am a cat person

Not an ice-cream-eating, nightgown-wearing crazy cat lady

A cat person

A cat person

A cat person

I'm a cat person because of that crazy headbutt thing she does when she's happy

Because she truly gets me

Because of the way she reminds me that it's dinner time

Because I've always been a cat person

Because I've always been a cat person

Because she makes me laugh

Because she makes me laugh even when I feel like crying

Because he doesn't care if I'm having a bad hair day

Because it's nice to have someone around who's smarter than me

Because of the way he sleeps on my head

Because I wasn't a cat person until I married a cat person and then became one myself

Because she runs to great me, every time I come home

Because he was here for me when no one else was

Because life without cats feels empty

Because she says so and she's the boss