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Decapitated Cat

Cats are good. Cats are OK. So who wants to see one of the happy furballs get decapitated by the sunroof of a small, depraved European car? Thousands apparently want to see such a thing. Maybe millions. I know this because of the small mpeg video now circulating the Net like Paris Hilton in lime-green backlighting. I know this because of this bit of viral marketing created by the Ford Motor Company's U.K. ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, whose sick demented geniuses created the thing and sent it out to the world.


This is an example of "viral marketing." It's sinister as hell. It's when an ad company creates a twisted little promotion specifically designed to bypass the mainstream and penetrate the subculture and be spread by word of mouth and word of e-mail, and everyone forwards it on to their friends and family and says oh my God you've got to see this hilarious video oh my God it's so funny/sick/horrible/twisted oh my God click here now. And Ford and the ad company cheer and applaud and grin malevolently.

Viral ads are everywhere. They hit your in-box all the time. They are a favorite of bloggers and 'zines and metafilters. There are hundreds. Maybe more. It's a hugely popular marketing segment. The ads often become enormous cult hits. The agencies often encourage users to download the video and never bat an eye when fans post them all over the Net without copyright permission. This, again, is the point.

Except this time, there's a twist. There is, of course, an outcry. Animal rights groups are furious. Ford is pretending to be aghast. Even Ogilvy & Mather is claiming ignorance. Ford has issued a formal statement of denial and disgust wink wink nudge. Ogilvy & Mather has released a formal statement of we have no idea how the hell this happened hee hee titter.

Read the whole article here.

Want to see a cute spoof on Goodwill Hunting? Click here!


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 6th, 2004 06:06 am (UTC)
I did get hit with that one in my mail box pretty early on.

I must admit, I did play the video a few times. Does that make me a kitty hater? :-)

May. 6th, 2004 07:00 am (UTC)
Hmm... This would have been beter if the cat got away, and then drove the car off a cliff, jumping out of the window just in time!
May. 6th, 2004 09:50 am (UTC)
The first time I got it, I was completely blindsided. I LOVE cats, and I love the cute-cat videos (yeah, I know, sad...). I felt physically ill after seeing that video, largely (I think) because I wasn't expecting it to be so horrific. I also felt like I myself was trapped, and then when the end came...

I'm getting sick again thinking about it.
May. 6th, 2004 10:03 am (UTC)
PS I'm *not* humor impaired, and I've laughed heartily at other sick things. I'm not sure why this struck such a chord with me... I can take some brutal images without flinching, but my empathy connection was juiced up for this one.

At the end of the article, the writer says, "Does this mean I can't laugh at this beautifully twisted car commercial? Does this mean grinning aloud at such a thing means you don't care about animal torture or factory farms or all those mewling abandoned kittens and puppies at the Humane Society? Have we really become this shrill and simpleminded? You gotta ask yourself. "

But the flip side is, Does the fact that I was horrified by this commercial mean I'm "the squeamish or the humor impaired... the easily offended or the desperately sensitive... [or one] who can't look at a Hallmark card without weeping and who own more than nine cats and never go outside" as the writer suggests? Of course not, that's mostly hyperbole on his part. But in making his point that he shouldn't feel bad for laughing, he denegrates those of us who truly were repulsed. That, to me, is shrill and simpleminded.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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