By B.L. Ochman
Existential, angst-ridden philosopher cat Henri, Le Chat Noir has been commissioned by Friskies to explore the phenomenon of cat food boredom, “for the benefit of all catkind.” Eat your heart out Maru
Friskies has tried hard to be amusing, succeeding sometimes, failing quite miserably others. But you have to give Purina credit for trying so hard to amuse cat owners.
Friskies’ Catify Yourself Facebook and iTunes apps were nominated as one of 2012’s worst social media campaigns by the Suxorz panel during Social Media Week. Friskies’ Cat Acoustics, songs made just for cats is simply weird, but kinda charming. There’s also an iPad game for cats, in which my cat has zero interest – although I did download it for the little ingrate.
Henri’s one popular kitty, and Friskies may have a winning campaign if they let Henri be his grumpy self. His YouTube channel, where videos describe his “pointless” existence, has had more than 3.5 million views. His Facebook page, where he lists his interests as “Pondering the meaningless of life…and sleeping.” has more than 92,000 fans. His store, where he says “Buying these products probably won’t restrain the growing ennui in your soul…but it can’t hurt.” features t-shirts, mugs, mousepads and posters. And, of course, he’s soon to release a book.
Henri, who has 18,500 followers, Tweeted:
In November 2012, Friskies gave a lifetime achievement statue to Henri, le Chat Noir, at the brand’s awards ceremony and donated 250,000 cans of cat food to shelters around the country.
According to Wikipedia, William Braden shot, edited and narrated the first Henri film in 11 days in 2007, while he was a student at the Seattle Film Institute. The second short film Henri 2, Paw de Deux was released on YouTube in April 6, 2012 and won the “Golden Kitty Award” for “Best Cat Video On The Internet” at the Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Film Festival. Henri 2, Paw de Deux also was shown on during the season finale of Animal Planet’s reality TV show “My Cat from Hell.”
Why are cats the most popular animals on the Internet? Nobody knows.
There is even an Internet Cat Film Festival. Theories abound. One of my favorites is “Cats ignore us, vomit on our carpets, drag in horrible things, demand food, want affection on their terms and stay out all night. Is sharing undignified cat content online our way of getting our revenge on the species?”