Friskies on March 12 and 13 leveraged the influence of pop culture icon Grumpy Cat to promote its newest wet cat food offering, Cat Concoctions, at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival. The activation marked the fourth year the brand has teamed up with the frowning feline to create a consumer experience at the popular Austin festival.
The activation, dubbed #CatConcoctions presented by Friskies, implemented a mashup theme inspired by the product itself, which is comprised of “curious” flavor combinations like Chicken in Creamy Crabby Sauce and Cod in Cheesy Bacon Flavored Sauce.
Playing up the juxtaposition premise, the brand enlisted Platinum-selling recording artist Ryan Cabrera and “American Idol” season six runner-up Blake Lewis, who fused their talents to create surprising musical mashups for attendees. Unexpected bites and beverages were also served.
The highlight of the activation was a meet-and-greet with the “official spokescat” of Friskies herself. On-site for two hours on each day of the activation, Grumpy Cat was available for a prop-filled photo op with media and consumers (begrudgingly, of course). Participants donned quirky items like crab claws and clamshell hats while holding signs bearing phrases like “Strike a Frown.” Fans could also take part in a photo mashup at a selfie station where their faces were mixed with Grumpy Cat’s infamous scowl.
The footprint ultimately attracted 1,600 consumers, while those who couldn’t attend the event were encouraged to follow the action on Friskies’ Instagram and Snapchat accounts and join the online conversation using #CatConcoctions. The brand also leveraged the power of Grumpy’s fellow celebri-cats, Nala and Waffles, to promote the event on its social channels.
“For the launch of Friskies’ Cat Concoctions, we really thought it was important for people to understand the product proposition—the fact that this line of cat food was inspired by cats,” says Jessica Nichols, brand manager at Friskies. “And since people aren’t actually eating the product, having this tangible, physical event really helps bring that concept to life. Live experiences allow us to connect with media and consumers in a fun and unique way that really resonates.” Agencies: The Taylor Group, New York City; Allied Experiential, New York City.