In a world where so much advertising is controlled by large corporations who can splash out lots of cash on high profile advertising campaigns to encourage you to buy their products, the ‘Citizens Advertising Takeover Service’ (CATS for short) wanted to do something different. CATS launched a Kickstarter campaign back in February 2016 to raise money to replace sixty-eight adverts in Clapham Common station with photos of cats. Not cat food, or veterinary care, just cats. Sounds ridiculous right? But they managed to get over 700 backers raising just over £23,000.
Arriving at Clapham Common tube station this week must be a breath of fresh air, metaphorically speaking. But was there more to this than just putting a smile on commuters’ faces? The answer is yes. CATS’s reasoning behind it, as stated on their Kickstarter page is: “Wouldn’t it be great not to worry about the holiday we can’t afford, the car we don’t need, or the body we don’t have? Imagine a world where public spaces made you feel pawsitive…”
The adverts contained no overt branding despite support from the Cats Protection and Battersea Dogs & Cats charities, with both providing images of real rescue cats in need of re-homing. So what did CATS (the organisation not the felines…) get out of it? The campaign has resulted in media coverage in The Metro, BBC News, and the London Evening Standard to name a few, as well as wide spread shares across social media – the scale of which far, far exceeds any paid advertising with a budget of £23,000!
I am all for creativity being used for good, especially if it encourages people to invest in a furry companion! Clearly this creative approach is working and begs the question: just how important is product branding within a successful advertising campaign? Maybe it’s not all about bombarding your potential viewers with information about your products, but rather to provoke thought, creativity and enthusiasm amongst your customers to encourage genuine emotional engagement, rather than just throwing a message at them and expecting a reaction.