Viral marketing is a phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message. It is a powerful strategy in the world of marketing and advertising. Interested in launching a viral marketing campaign? Perhaps cats should be at the forefront of your online marketing efforts. Even if we don’t necessarily like cats in real life, most of us tend to love cats when they’re shown online. So what fuels our obsession for cats? Well, cats are pretty adorable (admit it), and they happen to be just the purrrfect (get it?) distraction from our often hectic and stressful lives. The humor offered by cats requires no real explanation—it’s just there.
Cats can be evil and naughty as well, which only adds to their allure and intrigue. There are just as many memes of sinister, plotting cats as there are of cute or funny ones. We also enjoy seeing cats get into all sorts of amusing and unbelievable predicaments. Is it possible that it’s all a big cat conspiracy? Cats may have been slowly harvesting humans for two millenia. The Internet could just be a social experiment in which humans are mere pawns. Think about it—that’s all I’m saying.
Another thing we happen to love about cats is, well, they’re not dogs. In “Meet the Parents,” Robert De Niro says, “a dog is very easy to break, but cats make you work for their affection. They don’t sell out the way dogs do.” Dogs simply try too hard to get our attention—cats play an intriguing “hard to get game.” All of this explains why cats can kickstart a viral marketing campaign.
Harry Pointer, perhaps the progenitor of the shameless cat picture, seemed to understand the power of cats in marketing campaigns all the way back in the 1800s. Pointer often arranged his cats in unusual poses that mimicked humans. He realized that a caption made cats even more amusing. Another photographer, Harry Whittier Frees, continued along in the same vein (see above photo). Starting to get ideas for your next viral marketing campaign?
Now, you probably want more proof that cats own the Internet. What if I told you that grumpycats.com attracts a whopping 1.5 million unique visitors a month? Grumpy Cat became an Internet sensation after her photo was posted on Reddit on September 22, 2012. After it was suggested that the original photo was photoshopped, the founders of the site posted a few videos on YouTube. The videos went viral and her popularity has only continued to increase. Their Facebook page has over has over 700,000 likes. The YouTube channel “SevereAvoidance” has nearly 95,000 subscribers. The Twitter account has approximately 62,000 followers. During SXSW 2013 (an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin), Grumpy Cat received 13,931 mentions throughout the week, more than any of the top speakers, including Al Gore.
Convinced that cats can help fuel your viral marketing campaign? Great—now go get to work! For added motivation, check out some funny cat pictures, including those of Lil Bub and Tard the Grumpy Cat below.