Cats Rule This Hypnotically Weird Ad for … a Japanese Delivery Company?

Just go with it

Headshot of Patrick Coffee

We started the week with cats, and we're ending it that way, too.

There's no better time than a Friday afternoon to check out this ad for Japan-based international delivery company Yamato Transport starring a series of black cats dancing, DJing and posing seductively while riffing on a simple piano ditty played by millions of children around the world.

The cats in this spot are fairly impressive. To start things off, our furry protagonist finally achieves what distant cousin Tom never could over hundreds of episodes—entering the mouse hole and experiencing the overdressed wonders within. 

Yeah, things just get stranger from there.

We do have some (limited) context for this exercise in brightly colored debauchery, which seems to illustrate the dream lives of feline bachelors. 

The creative concept was inspired by "The Flea Waltz" or "Der Flohwalzer," a simple piano piece by an unknown composer that's a close relative of "Chopsticks" and "Heart and Soul" in terms of being the first one that many young piano players learn.

In Japan, it's known colloquially as "Neko Funjata" or "I Stepped on the Cat." But as our pseudo-rapping narrator informs us, it's really a bit more than that:

Yo yo yo, you know in many foreign countries

The song 'I stepped on a Cat' isn't a song about cats at all

Instead it can be the Dog Waltz, the Tick March

The donkey, the duck or the monkey. There're so many variations. 

You learn new things every day. But what does any of this have to do with delivery services? Yamato's logo depicting a black cat carrying her kitten implies the company will care for your valuable items as though they were family members. And the trio who appear around the 2:49 mark seem to be delivering a series of boxes containing—surprise!—black cats.

But trying to make sense of this ad is a losing battle, so let's just follow the lyrics: "Alright, everybody let's say it together now! Meow!" 

You got that?

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@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.