03 March, 2010

Friskies: LSD Trip or Avatar for Cats?

Although this Friskies spot has been on the air for a few weeks, I saw it for the first time last night, probably because I've watched almost nothing but the Olympics over that same time span, possibly because I gave up watching most network TV about six years ago.

1) Whoa.

2) The spot is by Avrett Free Ginsberg. You may remember their work from this intense Zenith commercial or the Biolage spot featuring Rebecca Romijn. I'll ignore Paris Hilton's "Fairy Dust." According to BrandFreak, this marks the first major campaign Friskies has mounted in seven years, and boy did they go for it.

3) It's amazing the commercials you don't see when you tend to watch only Football, ESPN, Comedy Central, Syfy, BBC America and any one of the Discovery or History Channels. I saw this awesome Kaiser Permanente "Thrive" spot about two years after it actually started airing.

But I'll bet I've seen every Burger King, Axe, Old Spice and Bud Light commercial that's aired since '04.

4) But back to Friskies. A current trend in the advertising world is to sell the experience rather than the function of the product, like showing a cat's trip to Narnia rather than explaining why Friskies' higher protein count is good for your cat. The idea is that these days people need to feel their life will be improved in order to part with their hard-earned money. Looking into some older Friskies spots, though, the brand has tended to focus on active cats enjoying Friskies, which, if you've ever lived with a cat, was kind of like Michelob Ultra advertising with rollerbladers. This current campaign definitely fits the Friskies brand historically. Still, every cat I've ever lived with has been more this:

than this.

Personally, I hate cats and can't understand why a consumer would want to send their cat through the looking glass just to feed an animal that craps in a box in the kitchen. However, I do know people who treat their pets better than I treat myself, and might be too excited by the prospect of sending their cat to Cool World with every meal...that is if they've actually seen Cool World.

Like with any campaign, Friskies' bottom line will tell us if this campaign was worth it. Personally, I'm skeptical that they will get the return on investment they're looking for. Then again, there are a lot of stupid cat people out there.

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