@CatBinLady ‘campaign’ driving traffic through strong character ‘voice’

As swiftly as Mary Bale threw that cat into that garbage bin @CatBinLady emerged on Twitter virtually overnight with a distinct voice – tightly woven to the extremely small snippet of info we’ve been fed by the media about “cat bin lady”.

The Naked Pheasant blogged a post today at 12.40pm, mentioning that @CatBinLady had 1900 followers when he began writing his post & rose by 400 in the duration of his post!

So I thought I’d keep a similar tally.  I’ve begun writing this at 19.11 GMT and @CatBinLady currently has 8925 followers – still from only 11 tweets and by following zero!

(19.11 – 8925)

@CatBinLady’s twitter profile simply states “I have momentary abberations. We all do” and goes on to link directly (and cleverly) to the RSPCA’s donate online home page.

Ace!  Inspired!  And bloody quick off the mark.

Buzzfeed –  -seem to think that @CatBinLady IS Mary Bale, “cataloging her daily transgressions and regrets” and “almost feels bad for her”.  Which I find really entertaining as @CatBinLady’s ‘voice’ really is that of an irrational, slightly manic, random personality type with tweets like this…

(19.25PM – 9008 followers – OK it’s taking me ages to write this post – I’m cooking Chicken Tikka Masala at the same time!)

I have no desire to comment about the ‘real’ Mary Bale and her actions or reasons for them – I am far more interested in the public fascination and connection with @CatBinLady’s humorous tweets! It’s a clever combination of the right thing at the right time (to have waited for this story to develop any further would have totally missed the boat and the moment), a strong, distinctive ‘voice’ and a clever mode of ‘storytelling’ – hitting straight to the heart of a character’s personality by ‘showing, not telling’!

Whether this is a stroke of  ‘seize the moment’ genius from the RSPCA, an RSPCA campaigner or, as Naked Pheasant questions, “either a fuzzy heart warming bit of philanthropy from the person who set it up, or an amazing reactive piece of social media from the RSPCA” , I believe that it says a whole lot about the use of story and narrative combined with a current issue and a strong character voice.

So many ad campaigns lack the weight and value of story and narrative and I feel that many adopt the ‘YouTwitFace‘ ‘strategy’ of launching a Facebook, YouTube and Twitter presence, sometimes in multiple character voices, and then building community around that.  That’s not to say that every brand/campaign NEEDS those platforms (individually or together).  The fact is that storytelling is an intrinsic element of human nature and has been for centuries, going back to visual images in caves or hieroglyphics and story connects with us on multiple layers and for many reasons.

BT’s Adam & Jane story has been running for years (since 2005?)

This campaign has introduced us to these two main characters over time, using a slow-burn, drip-feed culminating in a public online vote for what happens next which was launched online earlier this year (OK – that WAS a slow-burn of 5 years, but I’d put my money on BT not planning to embrace the ‘public vote’ like this or that social media would play such a huge part).

(20:05 – 9200, still only 11 tweets)

and for those of you who like statistics – check this out!

That’s 1,649,997 votes for the pregnancy storyline, not to mention all the other story threads that were uploaded and suggested online!  Impressive, right?  Showing that gaining audience trust, engagement and interaction takes time! (maybe 5 years is a little too long, but I believe that a campaign could run on a timeline of 18-24 months easily).

(20.43 – 9328, no more tweets!)

I’m not great at math, but can figure that this is a growth rate of followers at 4.38 followers per minute!

Or, since @CatBinLady’s initial tweet at 15.35 on August 25th, 36.63 followers per tweet!

Not bad on only 11 tweets…..

Now all I need to find out is whether this is an RSPCA campaign or simply a cat-loving campaigner who has the media savvy to send over 9000 people to their donate online homepage in less than 24 hours!  Ad agencies – you need to recruit this person ASAP!  THAT’S what you call driving traffic…


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