Ikea: an excellent choice if you like cat hair all over your furniture

By Todd Wasserman on Tue Sep 14 2010

Ikea apparently got hip to the idea that cats equal viral success. This video from ad agency Mother, for the brand's U.K. operation, shows cats descending on an Ikea location at night. If you like cats, that's cool. But since I'm more of a dog person, I thought about the coughed-up furballs and impossible-to-remove urine smell that felines are known to leave behind. Nevertheless, the cats look happy here to be ensconced in Ikea's beds. Lucky them, they don't have to try to construct this junky furniture at home. Sorry, did that sound catty? There's also a behind-the-scenes video, which you can see here.

Quiznos invites you to create commercials as horrible as theirs

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Aug 25 2010

A word of warning: If you're on an acid trip right now, or think of taking a tab, don't watch these ads. They'll freak you right out. I'm sober as a judge, and I'm still unnerved after sitting through rasta dogs and pirate cats "singing" about toasted sandwiches. Quiznos, obviously you think your pet-centric commercials from WongDoody are high-larious. But you might be the only one. So, why did you have to go and invite other people to add to this disturbing cutout-kitten oeuvre? Why? Here's the contest, anyway: Submit your own version of the spots to Quiznos.com, and you could win some cash ($3,000, $4,000 or $5,000), and your video could be used as torture for the rest of us. Good luck, all. And please lay off the drugs.

Can you do better than the Quiznos singing-kittens commercial?

By Elaine Wong on Mon Jul 19 2010

We've seen it all. Singing dogs, a chocolate-chip-cookie choir and now … vocally inclined cats. Yes, felines are the singing sensation in this new spot from Quiznos. The ad, via WongDoody, shows three cats, dubbed "Singimals," who tout the restaurant chain's new $3, $4 and $5 menu offerings. (Yes, it's still a downturn, and people are looking for cheap meal deals.) This spot began running on national and local TV today. But wait. There's also a social-media component, in which consumers can create their own music video—using the song—for a chance to win $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000. For those of you who wonder how you can top the Quiznos spot, don't worry. Animal cruelty need not be involved. "Each of the cats was filmed individually, receiving treats throughout the day as an incentive to play and have fun with their instruments. No animals were hurt during filming of the commercial," the restaurant chain writes. We sure hope so.

Frontline green-killer gang will destroy your pet's fleas and ticks

Posted on Wed May 5 2010

Pet owners apparently derive a lot of satisfaction from killing bugs that harm their pets. So much so that Frontline, a Merial-owned flea and tick treatment, launched a new campaign that taps into pet owners' killer instincts. Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness conducted research that found "pet owners liken the experience to going to war against the deadliest of foes," the company says. No wonder the new campaign and website, completekiller.com, personify the green liquid solution as a "fighting squad of green combatants." One TV spot, carrying the tagline, "There's killing and then there's complete killing," shows the army of green flea patrols dashing through a forest of pet hair and slicing the enemy, eradicating eggs and larvae in the process. Other brands, the ads claim, attack adult fleas only. "As the brand that has helped pet owners understand and address the issues caused by ticks and fleas for many years, we saw an opportunity to progress from an educational message to one that celebrates our superior performance and the satisfaction consumers get when using Frontline Plus," says Mike Hutton, senior director of Frontline marketing. After all, he says. "a flea- and tick-free pet is a happy, healthy pet."

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Dawn makes oily wildlife shine. Imagine what it does on dishes!

Posted on Wed May 5 2010

How much Dawn dishwashing soap does it take to clean up an oil spill of Ohio/Puerto Rico/Exxon Valdez proportions? Procter & Gamble is about to find out, continuing what I rate as one of the heart-tugging-est programs any marketer's ever done. Working with two wildlife groups—the International Bird Rescue Research Center and the Marine Mammal Center—P&G will use boatloads of Dawn to clean up the wildlife soaked by BP's horrific Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company is stepping up deliveries from its Kansas City manufacturing plant. Get ready for the sight of adorable otters and dolphins getting scrubbed clean with dishwashing liquid. Never fails to put a lump in my throat. Yeah, I'm a softy when it comes to animals, but this program, which actually does stretch back to the Exxon Valdez, brings out the best in the marketer and the brand. And just imagine what it can do for your crusty dinner plates!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Enemies of cat-litter clay rise up together and will not be silenced

Posted on Fri Apr 23 2010

Cats-against-clay

We just finished writing a story on deadline when in walks the mailman with a giant yellow package. We tore it open, and lo and behold, there was nothing in it but the current edition of The New York Times wrapped inside a black T-shirt. Oh, but wait! We opened it to page A19 (already tabbed) to see a full-page ad. "Today, our struggle begins against—INJUSTICE!" the copy reads. "Yes, we're that serious!" a separate color ad tucked inside the newspaper says. Whoa! Turns out it was from Cats Against Clay, an organization that protests the use of clay in cat litter. A post on the group's Web site reads: "We appreciate the support, New York. Many of you human types have shared enlightened messages about our plight—nice to see you 'get it.' It seems that newspaper, while not great in the litter box, is a fantastic way for us to make ourselves heard." We have to admit, it got our attention.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Corn reveals another superhero power: eliminating cat-litter odor

Posted on Mon Mar 22 2010

Litter

A little-known fact of today's agricultural-industrial complex is that corn doesn't just show up in most every packaged food we eat, it's also a key ingredient in things like spark plugs, washer fluid, latex paint, aluminum, insecticide, shoe polish and even explosives. (Hey, don't accuse us of being anti-agribusiness. These facts come from the folks at the Ontario Corn Producers Association.) And now, into this maze of maize applications comes what has to be the most astonishing corn property of them all: the power to eliminate the funk of kitty. That's right. According to the folks at the modestly named World's Bets Cat Litter, the secret ingredient for keeping those noxious biscuits from dispatching a malodorous death cloud into your home is … corn. WBCL, according to the literature, "harnesses the microporous power of all-natural, whole-kernel corn to provide unsurpassed odor control." Heck, the stuff is also long-lasting and eco-friendly—which is presumably no small part of why WBCL can be found in the mansions of Paris Hilton, Martha Stewart and Miley Cyrus, among others. News flash: Corn also recently discovered in packages of frozen corn!

—Posted by Robert Klara

Pets treated as though the recession were actually a golden age

Posted on Tue Mar 9 2010

Cat

While the Fed declared the recession to be officially over last September, millions of Americans remain skeptical—leaving many economic crystal-ball gazers to reach for all sorts of indicators that'll supposedly tell us how the economy is really doing. The folks at Packaged Facts recently weighed in with what has to be the hairiest indicator of all: pet spending (properly termed "Pet Parent Spending," since it's probably not kitty doing the shopping). No, nobody's claiming that volume sales of chew toys should replace the GNP, but it is interesting to see the manifold correlations between the economy and what people will drop on the family dog or cat. For one thing, while 2009 was the worst year on record since the Great Depression, pet spending was actually up 5 percent (to $53 billion), with some items registering staggering growth (cat snacks, for one, up 15.3 percent over 2008 sales). But with the jobless rate still hovering around 10 percent, what can explain this countertrend? According to the report, 83 percent of dog and cat owners "cite their pets' emotional support as helping them to survive the difficult times." So, that's it, folks: Fido gets a treat because he loves you—employed or not.

—Posted by Robert Klara

Give your cat Friskies, and it'll feel like it just ate some kitty acid

Posted on Wed Feb 17 2010

Everyone enjoys an adventure, even your cat. That's the message in this new Friskies ad, which debuted on Valentine's Day. It's part of the first major campaign for the Purina cat-food brand in seven years. The ad shows a happy kitty (who resembles my own feline) running through a Friskies "Adventureland." The cat passes turkeys, cows and chickens and rides on a float in the shape of a fish—all of which represent the ingredients found in the cat food. According to a Friskies marketing rep, the jingle was written specifically for this TV spot. The brand hasn't used music like this before. The animation and music remind me of a children's program: vibrant colors and simple words that are meant to stick in your mind. "Excite your cat day and night with endless enchantment. It's the magic Friskies makes happen every day in so many ways," the jingle goes. Given that we treat our pets like children, it makes sense why Friskies took this (somewhat gooey) direction.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Your dog, a big fan of frivolous pursuits, is itching to join Twitter

Posted on Tue Feb 16 2010

Puppy-tweets

My cats have been IM-ing me for sometime now (more kibble, please!), so I'm not that impressed with Mattel's plan to launch a new high-tech toy called Puppy Tweets. Dogs … always late to the party. Anyway, this sound-and-motion-activated gadget attaches to collars and links to home computers so dogs can issue updates to their very own Twitter pages. The tweets are canned, of course, but with 500 to pick from, it'll take a little while to cycle through them, especially since most pets sleep about 80 percent of the time. Sample tweets: "I bark because I miss you. There, I said it. Now hurry home." "Guess what I'm licking right now?" (Go ahead, guess.) There are a couple of good pop-culture precedents here. The obvious one is Dug, the squirrel-loving dog from Disney/Pixar's Oscar-nominated Up. The other is the classic Simpsons episode where Homer's half-brother invents a baby translator that puts words to infants' gurgles and cries. One of Maggie's best lines: "I've soiled myself. How embarrassing." Puppy Tweets, one of a zillion new products at this week's Toy Fair in New York, will show up at retailers in the fall for $29.99. Expect a Facebook war with the Zhu Zhu Pets.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley


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