FelinePine wasn’t content being the best-selling natural cat litter in the country. Having claimed dominant share in that niche, it was time to start clawing market share away from the category’s true brand leaders, the giant clay litter companies. The challenge was to transition FelinePine from alternative king into a competitor for market share in the mainstream.
Catsagainstclay.org gained more followers on Facebook than any other litter company including FelinePine’s, within three months of launch. It is also one of the highest trafficked websites in the litter business. The confusion and intrigue caused by the campaign sparked consumers to start asking questions about clay for the first time. It created a new distinct community for the brand of new, highly-engaged followers. The campaign garnered attention from international bloggers and the press, which ran feature stories on the ‘out of the box’ idea.
Research revealed that consumers who bought clay-based litter understood very little about its potentially harmful effects. After all, no matter what type of litter they put in their cat’s box, the cat never complained or refused to use it (although some cats got very sick). What would cats say about dusty, toxic clay-based litter if they could speak for themselves? Unable to find a sample of verbally gifted felines, we did the next best thing and created a quasi-revolutionary movement of housecats who were finally willing to stand up for their beliefs, and state what they really thought about clay. They created an ad-hoc ad agency, and got to work creating a website and the campaign materials to get the word out to their brethren it was time to perform acts of resistance in their homes. In a six-month period the furry ad agency succeeded in gained national and international attention.
A full-page ad in the New York Times generated so much intrigue it crashed their switchboard for the whole morning.
Cats Against Clay became a stealth campaign and movement based on various random acts of resistance – among other things, a YouTube filmed Berkeley protest march, secret sidewalk pressure-washed messages, billboards, social protests, a blog authored by underground feline members, and full page ads in the New York Times, one of which generated so much intrigue it crashed the Times switchboard for a whole morning. Our avid fans requested the ad as a poster and we responded by giving away 10,000 prints. Cat lovers understood the semi-sinister, plotting nature of these stealth cats and loved it.
The next step was to reveal the benefactor of the campaign, FelinePine, and drive direct sales off this distinctly indirect approach. And sales were good. So good in fact that one of the giant clay litter companies decided it was better to own the plucky FelinePine than continue to try to compete with it.
The brand was sold. Meow. Ka-ching.