Maru, Dubstep Cat, Nyan, OMG Cat, and Keyboard Cat–five cats as synonymous with viral stardom as David, Rebecca, and Charlie. There is no question about it. Cats are the stuff of internet legend. With each piano symphony and lightsaber battle, cats have ingrained their specific blend of nonchalance and general distrust of humanity into the fabric of the bizarre blanket that is the Internet. Watching cats on YouTube tends to evoke the same response from most viewers, which is, “Hey, I should get a cat.” This is something that the ASPCA is counting on with their dubstep-infused video campaign, “Hovercat.”
You may be asking yourself, “What the hell is a Hovercat?” to which I will tell you that, in this case, the name explains it all. In an effort to increase awareness around animal adoption, the ASPCA has created “Hovercat” to remind us all that we can save lives by adopting shelter animals.
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA is one of the oldest cruelty prevention organizations in the United States. The ASPCA’s mission is to prevent animal cruelty by saving abused animals and donating resources to shelters and animals in need. With their latest YouTube addition, the ASPCA hopes to reach internet audiences and their refined tastes for everything and anything feline.
The video, which features Nightline’s Dan Harris, focuses on George the cat’s ability to levitate and be ridiculously adorable all at once. As Harris leaves for work, George begins his–one can only assume–daily hovering dance party. That’s it; plain and simple, a cat dancing and hovering to house music with the help of some clever editing and sharp production from award-winning creative agency, Mekanism. The result is charming in its simplicity, practically screaming to be shared with every one of your friends and coworkers.
The initial idea behind the video came from Dan Harris’ publicly known love of cats and the ASPCA wanting to promote June as Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month. “The idea was to leverage Dan Harris and do something with his cat and create a viral sensation to try to drive adoption,” president of Mekanism, Jason Harris told me in an interview.
The goal of the campaign is to highlight the importance of adopting shelter animals while maintaining a lighter tone around a serious issue. “The way we work with organizations like the ASPCA is we try to create viral hits. It is harder to do that by focusing on depressing topics.” Harris added, “It is hard for people to want to pass that around. So we take the opposite angle, which is turning the issue, either getting people to laugh, or entertaining them in a way that highlights the issue with a twist.”
The tagline featured at the end of “Hovercat” reads, “Millions of viral videos waiting to be adopted.” This slogan hints at the viral nature of cat videos, much like the one Mekanism created for the ASPCA. But the time-tested “formula” for viral videos shows that trying to create something viral is almost condemning it to obscurity. “Content is not everything. We definitely make sure to build in a plan upfront on how we are going to promote stuff,” Mekanism’s director of social media, Brendan Gahan, told me. Speaking to Mekanism’s recipe for a viral video, Harris also added, “Half the work happens while you’re making the video. At the same time, you are working out a plan of who would be interested in this topic and talk to them.”
With “Hovercat” being supported by sites like icanhascheezburger.com, the YouTube upload will indisputably reach thousands of screens worldwide. As Adopt-A-Cat-Month rolls along, one potential viral video will be reminding viewers that cats have provided us with hours of entertainment. The least we can do is save one’s life.
Check out the video below and find out more about Adopt-A-Cat-Month here.