Whiskas Earster Cats - Mars Petcare

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Mobile Awards - Winner

Project Commissioner

Mars Petcare
Philippe Dulawan

Project Creator

Darren Winterford
Creative Licence Digital

Project Team

Our mobile applications are grounded in either the brand truth or the big idea. Our teams are not out there looking to just 'fit a brand' to some great technology. Rather, it's about starting with the brand first, and finding its best place within this mobile application space!

Project Overview

Playing on the undoubted viral value of cute cat pics and the Easter festive season, ‘Earster’ cats is sure to have many cat lovers snapping photos and sharing with friends over the extended weekend and beyond.

The light-hearted app harnesses all of the enjoyable elements of the iPhone. Users start by taking a photo of their favourite feline friend and overlaying a pair of Easter Bunny ears. Then they can shake the iPhone to toggle through various Easter ears. These images can then be shared on Facebook for increased viral spread.

Project Brief

Using the opportunity of the Easter weekend, Whiskas approached us to create an app that would maximise on the fun, bringing cats to the forefront of the public mind.

To make something fun, we decided to use the unique features of the iPhone to their full effect. This included combining the camera, acceleromoter, and web services into an app that is easy and enjoyable to use. To ensure the success of the app, to reach the biggest audience possible, it needed to have solid social integration and appeal.

We used the known element of cat images and their viral spread to make an app from which users could share their own unique, humorous and cute cat images, in an Easter themed way.

Project Innovation / Need

Overcoming the challenge of making the most of the technology in an engaging way led us to the solution. The app acted on the viral nature that cat pictures seem to have online. By adding a slightly quirky, humorous element to the photos that the app creates, the photos themselves carry the campaign.

The ability to randomise elements by shaking the phone adds a fun twist to the app. The higher level of interaction encourages users to play with the app and continue to use it.

Adding the in-app gallery and Facebook integration allows cat owners to share their photos with their friends, who may not own cats themselves. This brings cats back into the spotlight, without owners needing to be serious or obsessive about their pets.

User Experience

The app is easy to use, invites playfulness, encourages fun, and establishes a community of cat owners everywhere. The light-hearted app harnesses all of the enjoyable elements of the iPhone. Users start by taking a photo of their favourite feline friend and overlaying a pair of Easter Bunny ears.

The app needed to be easy to use, and yet retain enough fun for users to want to use it. Involving the motion sensor, getting users to "shoot, shake and share in sixty seconds" proved an effective way to do this.

The comical nature of the photos and the built in gallery meant that the app was used long after the Easter weekend, and in fact continues to be used.

Project Marketing

The campaign was launched in Easter 2011, and has received unparalleled response.

There was no budget in this project to include a concurrent advertising campaign, so there was no print, tv or radio spots, no press, and no consumer campaign supporting it.

The campaign was entirely viral, and was so successful, people continue to use the app and upload photos, even though Easter is long passed. Many users have assigned photos generated by the app to some of their address book contacts.

After the Easter weekend alone, the statistics from the app use were astonishing:
-219,834 people seeing branded Whiskas Earster Cats photos on Facebook
-35,569 shakes to randomise bunny ears. Each app user shook over 15 times over the Easter weekend.
-Over 4000 visits to the in-app gallery. Each person viewed an average of 14 photos. The total number of gallery views after the Easter weekend was 60,931
-The average user opened the app 4 times during the weekend, and used it for up to 10 minutes at a time.
-80% of users gave the app 4 or more stars on the iTunes App Store.
-During its peak use, a photo was uploaded to the in-app gallery every 10 seconds.