Using Silly Cat Videos to Sell Litter-Box Products By Andrew Adam Newman , The New York Times (Media /Advertising)
Walter the cat is a star! There’s even a rap song entitled “Me Luvz Mahselfz” that’s gained popularity. Thanks to the You Tube commercials advertising Litter Genie cat litter, cat poop is famous!
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“Watching cat videos is so popular that it has become shorthand for being unproductive, whether or not someone being distracted by the Internet is actually watching a cat riding a robotic vacuum or playing the piano.
Now a cat product that was introduced in 2012, Litter Genie, is being featured in a series of promotional videos on YouTube.
Introduced in March by Playtex, the division of Energizer Holdings that makes Diaper Genie, an odor-eliminating diaper pail, Litter Genie has a similar design, with a replaceable cartridge of plastic liners that are cinched closed to lock in odors. But Litter Genie is a receptacle for clumps of waste scooped from the litter box.
A Litter Genie video that is to be introduced on Tuesday uses the form of a music video, complete with opening credits in the lower left corner that include the name of the song, “Me Luvz Mahselfz,” and the artist, Walter and the Lap Cats.
In the video, set in what is meant to resemble a well-appointed bachelor pad and with music sung in a rhythm and blues style, cats wear gold chains and gem-studded collars… The cat music videos, Ms. Capeci said, were inspired by the popularity not only of cat videos but also of so-called lolcats, the online photographs of cats with grammatically idiosyncratic captions, like “I Can Has Cheezburger.” Learn more…
Directions: Have students read infer the meanings of the words (in bold) from the article.
- Watching cat videos is so popular that it has become shorthand for being unproductive…
- Litter Genie, is being featured in a series of promotional videos on YouTube.
- Litter Genie has a similar design, with a replaceable cartridge of plastic liners…
- In the video, set in what is meant to resemble a well-appointed bachelor pad…
- the online photographs of cats with grammatically idiosyncratic captions, like “I Can Has Cheezburger…
Questions for Reading Comprehension
Directions: In groups have students discuss the following questions.
- Who is the star in the video “Me Luvz Mahselfz” ?
- What inspired Litter Genie to create the cat videos?
- According to Claire Capeci business director at JWT New York, what was one challenge in making the videos?
- Why are the cat videos so appealing to people?
Post Listening Questions
Directions: After students have seen the video, place them in groups to discuss the following questions.
- What did you like or dislike about this video?
- Do you think using animals to see products will make money?
- With your group members create an idea for a video using a cat (or some other animal) to sell a product. Share them with the class.
- shorthand |ˈSHôrtˌhand|-noun-a method of rapid writing by means of abbreviations and symbols, used esp. for taking dictation.
- promotional |prəˈmōSHənl|-adjective-of or relating to the publicizing of a product, organization, or venture so as to increase sales or public awareness: she was on a promotional tour for her books.
- cartridge |ˈkärtrij|-noun-a container holding a spool of photographic film, a quantity of ink, or other item or substance, designed for insertion into a mechanism.
- A bachelor pad is a slang term for a house (pad) in which a bachelor or bachelors (single men) live. –Wikipedia.
- idiosyncratic |ˌidēəsiNGˈkratik, ˌidē-ō-|adjective-of or relating to idiosyncrasy; peculiar or individual: she emerged as one of the great idiosyncratic talents of the Nineties.
Source: New Oxford American Dictionary
Questions for Reading Comprehension
- Walter the cat.
- The cat music videos, Ms. Capeci said, were inspired by the popularity not only of cat videos but also of so-called lolcats.
- The function of the product wasn’t glamorous.
- “You can either say it in a voice-over and be terribly boring or say it in a song and have fun with it,” said Billy Faraut, a creative director at JWT. Cat culture is very fun, and people dress up their cats, and it allows us to poke fun a little bit,” said Ms. Harada.