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100 cats turned loose in an IKEA store to film commercial; 'making-of' spot becomes a Web hit

September 23, 2010 |  8:41 pm

What happens when you set 100 cats loose in an IKEA furniture store after all the customers have gone home? Well, predictably, you'll get some fur on the couches and linens, you'll have a few kitty swatting matches and you just may end up needing to punch a hole in a hollow wall to remove a wayward cat that somehow managed to climb inside. That's all par for the course.

It's also the idea behind a new IKEA commercial that is, however obliquely, intended to sell furniture and uses the company's new tagline, "Happy Inside." The advertising firm behind the commercial, London-based Mother, also released a "making-of" video, above, that has proven to be more popular than the commercial itself, garnering more than 2 million views on YouTube in just two weeks.

The making-of clip, titled "Herding Cats," is "an ingenious piece of meta-advertising that includes its audience in (some of) the details of its own production," The Guardian's Leo Benedictus wrote in a review. He sums up the campaign:

What they say: "Happy inside"

What it means: "Advert, what advert? ... Oh look! Cats!"

According to Mother, the commercial and the "Herding Cats" clip are "part of an integrated campaign with elements that launch later this month," including an opportunity for IKEA customers to guess the piece of furniture a cat is sitting on to win the item. "The idea behind the work is that cats know better than anything what makes them feel happy inside, they live their lives in pursuit of their own comfort," Feh Tarty, Mother's creative director, told The Guardian.

After the jump, see the finished commercial, complete with woozy music by U.K. singer-songwriter Mara Carlyle. Or, more succinctly: "Oh look! Cats!"

-- Lindsay Barnett

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