From Web to TV: Friskies’ “Dear Kitten” Videos

dear-kitten-a-cute-friskies-ad-nIf you’re a savvy Internet individual, you know that Buzzfeed made major pushes to increase their following through viral videos last year. Among those videos is a series of “Dear Kitten” videos that have gained a lot of traction because, well, kittens. The series has been viewed more than 30 million times and is now about to become a spot during the Super Bowl. Making this Buzzfeed’s first television commercial. And because this series is sponsored by Friskies, this will make it the first time Friskies has advertised during the Super Bowl.

The commercial will be featured on air in only three markets but both Buzzfeed and Friskies agree that the spot will generate enough buzz and have massive replay value online. While many digital publishers, like The New York Times, have been lauding their native content, and platforms like Facebook and Google have data-driven advertising, not many have been tapped to create linear commercials.

BuzzFeed Motion Pictures VP Jonathan Perelman said BuzzFeed and Friskies were brainstorming for the fifth installment of “Dear Kitten” when the idea of a Super Bowl ad came up. “We were thinking about doing the next installment in this franchise around tent poles, so we thought about doing ‘Dear Kitten’ during the Big Game…. What I love about the Big Game is that it’s a place that people watch for the ads as much as they watch for the game itself,” Perelman said.

Perelman doesn’t thinks that Buzzfeed’s first TV ad will send marketers running to the digital publishers to create their spots, but it might be a trend that could be entertained in the near future. Buzzfeed has a unique insight to audience behavior, especially in the online space. Where this kind of knowledge gives them an advantage online, they still have to test ideas before putting them out as full-fledged campaigns.

“I’m sure it will happen in the future. Ideas will be incubated, data-driven online, and then it will move into campaigns we’ll see on air during the Big Game or other on-air events,” Perelman explained. “[Publishing online] is a way to build an audience, and you can simply move that into a different format, say, television.”

It’s safe to say that this won’t be Buzzfeed’s last TV appearance. Having started humbly as a post-driven online community, and then expanding into a viral video tycoon, it looks like the future of marketing for this company seems to be exponentially soaring upward. If you want to see the extended version of the 60-second ad that will be premiering during the Super Bowl, click on the video below.

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