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Behind This Pet Food Brand’s Bizarre Cat Influencer Marketing Stunt To Launch Ultra-Premium Wet Food Line (1)


Behind This Pet Food Brand’s Bizarre Cat Influencer Marketing Stunt To Launch Ultra-Premium Wet Food Line

Mars Inc.’s Sheba brand has announced the launch of its new Gravy Indulgence Entrées cat food by tapping into influential cat personalities on social media. The wet cat food offering comes in twin-packs with 70% gravy and 30% cuts of beef, chicken or fish designed to appeal to feline tastes, the company has announced.

To promote the new line, Sheba is hosting “The Gravy Race” – a single-elimination tournament pitting eight famous cat influencers, i.e. “catfluencers” against each other in a competition to see who loves the new entrées most. The participants have a combined reach of over 55 million followers across Instagram and TikTok.

The roster includes @waffles_the_cat, @my_boy_belarus, @cobythecat, @paquito_thecat_official, @venustwofacecat, @totally_tater, and @thatlittlepuff. Sportscaster and cat lover Ian Eagle will provide live commentary as the feline contestants go head-to-head licking up the gravy in a series of heats, semi-finals and finals.

“I’ve seen a lot of bracket-based competitions, especially this time of year, and this is like nothing I’ve seen before,” said Eagle. “The Gravy Race is a fun, lighthearted competition that both sports and cat lovers alike can root for.”

From now through April 2, Sheba is running a related sweepstakes giving cat owners a chance to win a $3,000 gift card, a year’s supply of the cat food and branded merchandise. To enter on TikTok, users must reply to The Gravy Race trailer with a video of their own cat in a “gravy race” and include @SHEBABrand, #SHEBAGravyRace and #Sweepstakes. On Instagram, users must comment on the trailer post predicting which catfluencer will win using the same hashtags.

The integrated marketing push was developed with creative agency AMV BBDO. It includes a 30-second teaser film, competition highlights across Instagram and TikTok, digital ads, PR efforts, and a livestreamed finals event from New York City’s Times Square.

“The Gravy Race celebrates the launch of the Sheba brand’s latest product innovation,” says Jean-Paul Jansen, Chief Marketing Officer of Mars Pet Nutrition North America. “Not only can cat parents feel confident feeding their adult cat a 100% complete and balanced meal but Sheba Gravy Indulgence Entrées are what cats love and deserve, helping to create more moments of affection.”

The cat-centric campaign taps into the massive popularity of related content online as pet owners increasingly humanize their feline friends. It aims to drive interest in Sheba’s new ultra-premium wet food line by featuring real cats as judges of its indulgent gravy formula. With eager pet owners and influencers rallying behind their favorite contestants, the real winner may be Sheba’s engagement.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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