Whiskas’ Kat Institute of Technology Is a Painfully Cute Adaptation of Silicon Valley Life

Prep your feline for world domination

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Cats are having a heyday! They’re invading Samsung’s Instagram. They’re hiding in your city, covered in Pepto-Bismol pink. And if ever you doubted that their slow but steady domination of our species was intentional, now you’ll know the answer: It is.

Because hiding behind your cat’s silent, judgmental scowls is a great mind—one that now has its own university, the Kat Institute of Technology.

Brought to you by Whiskas and AMV BBDO (which just launched the ad linked above with the 100 pink cats, so we’ve got pretty good evidence as to what species is running that place), the Kat Institute of Technology campaign promises to answer the many burning questions we’ve had about our feline friends.

An introductory ad is meant to ensure your cat is ready for world-disrupting glory, if not with an entire room dedicated to lasers then at least with an age-appropriate pack of Whiskas:

A series of weird, painfully adorable educational videos then walks pet owners through how best to nourish their geniuses. Start, of course, with a diet that ensures they feel love in an appropriately non-human way. (Because food is a far less complex means of expressing affection.)

Sadly, while it teaches us that cats associate love with feeding—in our wildest hopes, anyway—the video below doesn’t explain what to do with all the half-dead mice, birds, moles and squirrels our own cats keep proffering. We’re not eating those. (Sorry, cats.)

Next, “Ageing Fabulously for Cats” explains how to ensure your cats “stay in touch” with their inner kittens. Proper care is critical, especially given that, unlike us gross humans, cats are just too cool to age from the outside.

The next video explains various rules of conduct for K.I.T. attendees (“Don’t use your hacking skills to collapse foreign economies!”). But it’s also a thinly veiled reminder to buy age-appropriate cat food. Like babies, kittens should eat food “formulated for your still-growing body.”

“Cat Games and Playtime” is a treatise on the importance of physical play in ensuring your cat’s brain stays sufficiently adept at “mental calculus.” (And telepathy.) Provided you can get kitty off the couch, that is.

In addition to a stock mention of “on fleek” in a British accent, “Picture Purrfect: The Art of an Healthy Cat Diet” is a handy indoctrination on how often you should feed your felines, and with what type of food. The robot arms help. Can we get a pair of those so our cats stop losing their minds and knocking their poo everywhere every time we miss a feeding? (Geniuses are demanding!)

The Kat Institute of Technology campaign builds on a previous effort called “Kitten Kollege,” which went live in 14 markets. In comparison, K.I.T. is global and more ambitiously produced—that opening shot of the school, a cat-shaped rendition of MIT’s campus, is epic. (Plus, robot arms!)

To give the work its oomph, AMV BBDO collaborated with cat-care experts and vets at Whiskas, Mars Petcare and the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. Its insights are fueled by search data and cultural trends, the better to address “the most frequently asked questions that cat owners are searching for online.”

Certainly it comes as close as we’re ever going to get to answering the question, Does he even love me? Not to mention the maddening, If I were shrunk to mouse-size tomorrow, would he simply eat me? Though the response to this last strikes us as far less reassuring: If a cat’s heart is in its belly, well…

“This campaign is the next stage of our journey to help consumers understand how to feed their cats’ curiosity,” says Whiskas European brand manager Katie Griffiths. “There are over 30.4 million online searches for cat-related queries every month, covering everything from what to feed my cat to what is the right breed to choose. As one of the most trusted brands in cat care, we wanted to be there to help cat owners at the moments that matter and bring our expertise to life in a new, engaging and informative way.”

It may well be propaganda (any country cat owner will tell you cats have lived long and well before age-appropriate wet and dry food existed), but it’s engaging. Kat Institute of Technology plays on the inexplicable affection we have for pets that are sparing in their attention and compellingly mysterious. Its way of pointing to our tendency to idolize and spoil a certain “elite” breed of campus hipster (or “kitster,” in Whiskas terms) is also more playful than mean-spirited.

“We’ve often harbored a suspicion that the universe is being secretly run by cats,” say AMV BBDO creative directors Richard McGrann and Andy Clough. “The Kat Institute of Technology gently pokes fun at the tech industry, with their funky offices and funky ideas. It’s as if somebody had put cat flaps on the doors of Silicon Valley.”

They continue, breathlessly: “Whiskas’ ‘K.I.T.’ is a place cat owners can recognize and serves as way to package sensible educational info and new product launches in an entertaining manner.”

It’s definitely that. If nothing else, you’ll have a whole treasure trove of new cat videos to watch before sliding softly into slumber.

Project: Whiskas – Kat Institute of Technology
Client name & job title:
Cecile Angrand – Global Brand Director
Stefan Krucker – European Brand Director
Katie Griffiths – European Brand Manager
Gina Head – Senior Brand Manager UK
Annie Argyle – Senior Brand Manager UK
Creative Agency: AMV BBDO
Exec. Creative Director: Alex Grieve, Adrian Rossi
Creative Director: Richard McGrann, Andy Clough
Agency Planner: Diana Lopes
Agency Account Man: Carmen Vasile, Richard Moloney, Maciej Stryjek, Florence Prevezer
Agency Producer: Nikki Marsh, Elizabeth Griffin, Lewis Partovi
Media Agency: MediaCom
Media Planner: Amanda Zafiris, Selen Ozkan
Production Company: Biscuit
Directors: Big Red Button – Johnny Burns & Pier van Tijn
Animation Production Company: NOMINT
Animation Directors: Christos Lefakis and Yannis Konstantinidi
Post-production Company: The Playroom (offline), Absolute (online), Blind Pig
Audio Post-production: Wave Studios

@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.