Behind the scenes of the first horror film made just for cats

The film, by Mars Petcare's Temptations, purrfectly sums up a feline’s worst fear: cucumbers.

Campaign: Scaredy Cat Movie Premiere
Company: Temptations (owned by Mars Petcare) 
Agency partners: adam&eveDDB (creative agency)
Duration: September - October 2020

In honor of Halloween, pet food brand Mars Petcare's Temptations created a spooky film specifically for its target demographic — cats (and their owners).

As most cat-owners know, there are few things as scary to felines as cucumbers, which inspire immediate, dramatic and often very funny responses.

“Those entertaining and sometimes over-the-top reactions inspired us to turn that unexpected fear into a real horror movie for cats,” said Craig Neely, VP of marketing for Mars Petcare. 

Originally, the film was intended to be a live-action short, but then COVID-19 hit.

“The team pivoted to the idea of an animated film using CGI and miniatures, which in the end we think worked even better than the original idea,” Neely said. 

For the stop motion component, the crew built a detailed miniature set featuring more than 400 handmade and 3D printed props. The cat was then created and added to the scenes with CGI. More than 100 people worked on the project over the course of 14 weeks.

In addition to spooky cucumber visuals, the short included sound frequencies developed to “captivate cats’ interest and spark their curiosity,” Neely said. Developed in partnership with the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, “the frequencies are inaudible to humans but fall well within the natural range of feline hearing to capture their attention.”

Scaredy Cat was promoted through an online movie trailer, which dropped on September 24 and was shared on the brand’s social media channels. It was also promoted through paid media and digital ads on IMDB.

On October 16, the day of the film’s premiere, Temptations released a press release, conducted media outreach and partnered with cat influencers to promote the film on its social media channels.

Scaredy Cat has been viewed more than 126,000 times on YouTube, where it also generated 3,400 likes and 464 comments.

The spot led to 55 earned articles, including coverage in and The Takeout

The brand worked with three pet influencers on Instagram—@littlebittyoctober, @my_boy_belarus, and @bonnienclydekitties—to promote the campaign, which resulted in more than 32,000 likes, 1,000 swipe-ups, and 725 “saves” on Instagram.

Temptations gained more than 2,785 YouTube subscribers and 675 Instagram followers. Between September 24 (when the trailer launched) and Halloween. Additionally, Temptations’ website saw an 152% increase in new users and a 56% increase in page views. 

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