The South by Southwest music, film and emerging technology conferences and festivals are under way in Austin, Texas this week and some old and new celebrity animals are going to be making appearances and helping to market products. There will be some of the familiar animal spokes-animals as well as some old favorites.
The big announcement has been that Morris the cat will be appearing and live tweeting during the event. It’s all part of 9 Lives’s new $2 million advertising campaign to bring Morris into the 21st Century. Morris appeared in over 60 different commercials from 1969 to 1978, but is getting an update thanks to technology.
Morris will be debuting his new online interactive game and video called “Cat’s Eye View”. He sports wearable technology; a pair of digital glasses that allow viewers to follow Morris through a series of classic cat activities including unraveling toilet paper, chasing a red dot, jumping into a cardboard box and watching goldfish. He even takes selfies and orders cat food online.
Morris is being touted as a new kind of “Robocat” and is even taking time out of his SXSW appearance to grant interviews. In an interview with Adweek magazine he said, “What is very different these days is how many ways there are to engage with my fans. I’m all about Twitter. I’m really enjoying Tumblr. Have you been wondering why more cat foodies don’t post cat food photos online? Check out my Instagram for a delicious PB&J+9 or a tastykitty sundae.”
Not to be outdone, Grumpy cat will be hosting a “cat and bacon-centric event” along with her friends Nala Cat, Waffles, SamHasEyebrows, Oskar the Blind Cat and his brother Klaus. There will even be a panel discussion called “CAT”astrophe: Good, Bad and Ugly of Internet Cats that aims to shine a light on the plight of homeless cats.
Finally, a dog will be put to work to help attendees. Morphie, the top selling mobile battery case in North America, will have a St. Bernard walking around downtown Austin with one of the company’s mobile electronic device chargers. “Inspired by tales of St. Bernard rescue dogs in the Swiss Alps,” Mophie wrote on its Web site, “the mophieRescue Team will dispatch Saint Bernard dogs at SXSW from March 13 through March 15.”