It’s National Cat Day! That lovely, brief 24 hours in which Uber offers up a cardboard box full of kittens on demand so that people will write about Uber, and how they offered up kittens on demand. And write we did!
From an internet writer’s standpoint it’s an easy and clickable blog post, for sure: even if you don’t get to book the cats, you can still feature some cute kittens, make silly puns, and discuss the new economy. And if your office manages to get 15 minutes of meows, heck, that’s a serious content for the Instagram feed and a good, quick Vine.
I really don’t want to bash harmless fun and whimsy, but I do find it a little befuddling that anyone engaged and got the cats and wrote anything about it, even if only to say these crazy startups are at it again! The need to feed the Feed is understandable, of course, but Uber’s stunt was for the sole purpose of getting some free press from cute images. Well not free—you had to pay them for the luxury of Instagramming a kitten.
Maybe I’m over thinking it—kittens are cute, I agree with that. Yet carting around some cats so that the local news has a wacky story as their last segment is a demonstration of Uber’s scale (50 cities of cats!) and marketing prowess, and not something done in honor of anything. Ostensibly they are helping a handful of cats get adopted. That’s nice! But it’s a perfunctory goal tacked on to a media event. Hit the road, jack.