The advert for Cravendale milk is deliciously deceptive, as the campaign’s focus on the scary cat evolution scenario is memorable and something of a talking point- what indeed if cats had thumbs? Frankly I dread to think… However, this £12 million campaign by Wieden + Kennedy manages to achieve the hard-sell by contemplating the apparently devastating implications of cats scheming for a taste and ultimate takeover of Cravendale milk (next stop being world domination). This is less about the milk itself, but more about the concept of craving it and the comic/slightly alarming narrative of Bertrum and his cat-gang targeting a lone and pitiful milk-drinker, decked in his dressing-gown, protecting his Cravendale with a spoon. This reversal of roles and battle for a bottle of Cravendale, I believe successfully convinces its audience that “milk matters”.
The scene starts quite typically with a man pouring milk into his cereals, with a cat watching. But this is no ordinary cat. This is a cat with opposable thumbs- thumbs that can help it turn the pages of a Military strategy book, file its claws, knit and open doors. I love how the advert builds up to a crescendo to end with the final prize product, and target of this feline army, Cravendale milk. Although funnily enough apparently adult cats are lactose-intolerant, but I doubt that this is a fact recognised by many viewers. Instead, I think the advert wonderfully captures the nature of a cat– for example, its piercing stare when you eat is something I (as a cat owner) immediately recognise. I therefore appreciate the innovative angle this campaign takes, particularly given the recent decline in milk’s popularity and rise in no-dairy alternatives. I also like the fact that Bertrum has become the star of the show with his own facebook page as a “Public Figure” and twitter account (@bertrumthumbcat), which ultimately makes the brand even more engaging, even if conversation mainlyevolves between fellow cat-lovers. Moreover, while CGI effects of the advert have been somewhat criticised, I failed to notice as I was too engrossed over the question “What if cats had thumbs… ?”