Host: We have with us today one of the great minds of our generation, Dr. David Steinbaur, Head of Complicated Research at the National Smartness Institute. He’s here to talk about his Nobel Prize nominated theory on nanoparticles.
Dr. Steinbaur: Thank you for having me. In the past decade of research, we’ve taken nanoparticle theory from the realm of science fiction to …
Host: *holds up picture of cat*
Dr: Steinbaur: D’awwww, kitty!

I HAZ BUKSTORE

How can you resist? It’s like a lemonade stand run by a kitten.

What is it about cats that turns rational, intelligent brains to mush? Scientists would tell you that there are all sorts of instinctive and psychological reasons. They are tiny and fuzzy, and we feel a need to protect them. They have big eyes and remind us of human babies. Sure, that’s all well and good, but those same scientists still go to jelly looking at pictures of a kitten, so how seriously can we take them?

A Better Use

Cats have started to make inroads into marketing, but given their potential as spokescreatures, cats are vastly underutilized. Even people who aren’t “cat people” like pictures and videos of cats. Most of marketing is trying to convince people to look at your product. With cats, it’s a fair trade: “Hey, look at my product and you can also see an adorable kitten.”

Firehurler Alternate Cover

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but a lot of people still do. This book has a cat in it, but it is not about cats.

Advantages

One advantage is that people who might otherwise have no interest in your product may be exposed to it just because of it’s incidental association to the cat in question. Another is that you are overcoming one of the main pitfalls of marketing: annoying your target audience. While any advertisement will grow stale and boring over time, the love of cats isn’t going away. If it’s a fad, it’s a fad that predates ancient Egypt. You can bet if the ancient Egyptians had YouTube, their version would have been full of cats, too.

Disadvantages

First of all, respect the cat! Pictures of cats doing silly and dangerous things are fine, so long as it was the cat’s idea. Purposefully luring your cat into trying dangerous things borders on animal cruelty, which I shouldn’t have to mention is a bad business practice.

The real downside of cat-based marketing is the risk that your product/service/event is overshadowed by the cat. If only 10% of the viewers of your ad can tell you afterwards what the product was, your cat has stolen the scene. (of course, if you have a million views, that’s still a lot of exposure, even if 90% of it focuses solely on the cat).

What do you need?

  • A cat – It doesn’t have to be yours, but you need (legal) access to it to take pictures or video
  • A camera – Video or still. Even a cell phone is sufficient, though for professional work you’d like something a bit higher quality. Cats blue easily, and shaky video turns many people away.
  • Editing software – Unedited video may work, but stills can’t do much advertising without some sort of captioning (exceptions exist to every rule, even this one)
  • Patience – If your vision is of a cat napping on the back of a sofa, you’re all set. If you want to picture a cat doing something, especially something atypical, be thankful that the age of digital photography freed you from having to pay for film in 12-shot bundles. Cats are actually capable of changing expression faster than your 1/4000 shutter speed.

It’s not a lot really. The quality of the cat* and vision for the finished product are the real keys.
*Some cats are naturally funnier than others (e.g. Grumpycat)

About This Cat

The subject in these photos is a 12-week-old kitten named Soria.

I CAN HAZ AETHERSMITH?

But of course! The sequel, Aethersmith, is already available. Of course, you’re probably just looking at the kitten, aren’t you?