Friday, November 16, 2012

Can Richard the Cat Convince You to Get Out the Hammer and Nails?

I was in a “Teaching with Technology” Conference at NYU last spring, when a speaker noted that you can tell when your online network is working because people will start posting photos of cats.  His statement got a big laugh, probably because everyone recognized that it was true.

Apparently this lesson was absorbed by Home Depot who has decided to introduce a feline spokescat for the holiday season.  Perhaps they were encouraged by recent positive sales results to take a chance, or they could have been reacting to data which has shown that icons appear to be an effective way for companies to connect with people in the social media space.  Either way it seems to be a bold move. (Vranica, 2012)

You can expect to read Richard’s sarcastic comments about his inept family’s home improvement disasters on Tumbler, and BuzzFeed‘s home page will be Home Depot orange next week.  Tweets can be found @RichardTheCat and content is planned for Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare.  (Zmuda, 2012)

It all sounds like fun, but I’m not sure it will inspire me to tackle those home improvements that I have been putting off.  What about you?

Anderson, M. (November 13, 2012)  Home Depot 3Q Results Edge up, Beat Street’s View.  Retrieved November 16, 2012, from

Vranica, S. (March 26, 2012)  Knights, Pirates, Trees Flock to Facebook.  Wall Street Journal p B1.

Zmuda, N. (2012, November 14)  Home Depot Adopts Feline Holiday Mascot.  Retrieved November 16, 2012, from


  1. I'm more of a dog person myself, but I found Richard quite funny and cute. The DIY look and feel with the blog and Twitter account made Richard to feel more "real" to me. Although, I don't see how Home Depot is benefiting from these social media actions. The campaign can work when building brand awareness, but to increase sales with a talking cat? I'm a bit sceptic.


  2. The use of Richard the cat to get men off the couch to do work is not
    a viable campaign. Cats are pets which have traditionally attracted the female market. If the desire use is a female, perhaps the use of a more "masculine" or ferocious cat such as a tiger or lion to motivate the male market which is the target market to "grab the hammer and nails". The use Tony the tiger in Frosted Flakes or the Tiger in the Exxon ads shows the more masculine cat if Home Depot wants to use a cat in its ad.