Well Played: Lake Street Creamery & Kitten with a Top Hat
Despite the fact that I often make fun of the silly videos that are on Youtube, I freely admit that I am one of those people who have been captivated by Panda Sneeze, Dramatic Chipmunk and surprised kitty (which to date has 27 million views!)
So it is unsurprising that I, and the rest of the interwebs, were completely charmed when this video of a tiny kitten wearing a tiny hat emerged. It featured an angry cat who for some reason, took offense to the little top hat and smacked it right off:
Later another video emerged, this time it featured the little guy eating a TINY ICE CREAM CONE. My cuteness meter just exploded. It turns out this was part of a promo for Lake Street Creamery, in LA.
The Inside Scoop (PUN TOTALLY INTENDED)
I contacted the good folks at Lake Street Creamery to find out the back story and to see if they had started to feel the impact from their viral hit.
Awww yes little Scout Jr charms us daily (along with her 5 siblings)!
Thank you for your interest in us.
Well the campaign was a complete fluke really. It all managed to coincide with the launch of our truck. We were filming Scout Jr in a hat because basically we’re fools for our cats– then Speedo (male cat not related to kittens) jumped on our little set and voilà the “slap heard across the world”. It surprised us! Sad but hilarious we posted it on YouTube mainly to show our friends. It went viral FAST! So we jumped on the traffic and quickly made a cute ice cream commercial.. Yes to promote us but also to show Scout Jr was A-Ok.
It’s created a lot of buzz and attention from people all over the world. Very surreal. It’s hard to tell the impact yet since we literally just launched our business 2 days ago– but we are getting a HUGE Twitter following fast and many inquiries for special events for The Lake Street Creamery truck. I hope it will help us launch a successful business and allow us to be creative with the Youtube channel as both Tim and I are artists and entertaining via music, film, art and design is our first love.
There you have it, an opportunity presents itself and a savvy organization will jump at the chance to share it with the world and get a few extra (thousand) page views and some more twitter followers. What a great way to promote a new business.
Why I love this:
Well, it has a kitten and a top hat and a tiny ice cream cone. Do we really need to talk about why I love it? 😉
1) They were upfront about it.
Lake Street Creamery acknowledges their shameless attempt to hold our attention by using Scout Jr. (Could that name be any cuter, honestly.) They laid out the terms: we will give you adorable content but it will take place in front of our logo. I’m fine with that. This is really like watching a commercial before an episode on your favorite show online. I understand and accept the exchange. The Internet loves cute content and I personally don’t care if it’s shot by some guy with a handy cam or a business. Sure, the scene was scripted, but that didn’t take away from the compelling nature of the video.
2) They kept it short.
One minute is the perfect length of time to wallow in the cuteness without getting experiencing cuteness overload. Lake Street Creamery understood that the cute animal genre (if one can call it that) is all about content that is short and sweet. They could have drafted an entire 4 or 5 minute video, but instead they recognized what format works best with their audience and went with it.
3) Good Strategic Alignment
Ultimately, the goal was to gain brand awareness, pure and simple. They weren’t attempting to build a tightly knit community, they just wanted people to talk about and share the video with their network of family and friends. I make this distinction because there seems to be a confusion between building brand awareness and building an online community. The two techniques are not interchangeable. Building a community requires a tremendous amount of time and resources, but most of all it needs an overarching purpose. Brand awareness through viral video is by contrast, a short burst. This makes sense especially when you consider the cost versus the number of people who are watching. I’m not sure how much a tiny top hat goes for these days, but I’m sure with all the costs tallied up, it still would be much less than a television ad.
The whole promo also resonates with their brand as a whole, as evidenced by their “disturbed manifesto” which they link to in the video. I’ve highlighted the relevant parts in bold:
We believe in summer afternoons, ball games, Grampy’s old time lemonade, and that the universe is ruled by a vengeful race of aliens. We believe that a donut-flavored ice cream should be made with real, fresh cake donuts and not Polyol-6 Donut Simulator. We believe that licorice ice cream and grape soda belong together, and we’re tired of hearing otherwise, OK?
We believe in freedom, specifically the freedom for man to marry ape. What does this have to do with delicious ice cream? EVERYTHING. It has EVERYTHING to do with delicious ice cream. We believe in standards, integrity, and freaked-out happenings. We believe in kittens, ghosts, waffle bowls, and the glorious power of weird mind cults. Most importantly, we believe in your ability to choose the best ice cream in the universe. In fact, we’re sort of counting on it, so you need to stop screwing around and do the right thing here.
Lake Street Creamery. We guarantee IT WILL TURN YOU INTO A GOD.*
Awesome. Will this work again? Yes, if they have equally cute content. As we have seen the internet is a sucker for cute baby animals doing adorable things. Next time, may I suggest a monocle?