John St, an advertising agency in Toronto, is officially the cat that got the cream after its parody of ‘catvertising’ went viral. It is such a big hit that when I mentioned it in an interview, the interviewer scribbled it down (point to me), and in the latest place where I have working (HMDG), it featured in a pitch (while somehow remaining relevant… but making the agency look “cool”). It seems that cats are big news. The reason (after much office debate) seems to be that they do the unexpected, no dog-like performances, cats show it like it is. If human, cats would be horribly blunt, friendly and cruel at the same time. In some ways, cats are human-like, with their tendencies to work out who likes them, who feeds them and who’s bed to lie in – all very astutely, with little time to change their minds.
However, the reason I am posting this is not purely out of feline love. I think these videos also signal an interesting take on advertising too – on the plus side, an industry not afraid to make fun of itself, knows what sells (and people like), has a sense of humour on the right side of sarcastic, and is also cheerily geeky (and proud). On the downside, catvertising highlights the long way advertising has to go to make it into the same affection bracket as cats, but also to when concepts like “consumer engagement”, “integration” and the elusive “new business tools” become more than just buzz words. You heard it here first… miaow.