Online retailer Tmall has announced that it is looking for a cat to be its CMO, or “Chief Maimeng [cuteness] Officer”.
The Chinese name of the website, Tian Mao, means “sky cat”, and its advertising already features a cartoon pussy, as well as an indeterminate orange thing which rides on a goat… OK, I have no idea what’s going on there.
(Well, do you know what that’s meant to be?)
Celebrity cats from across the globe are queuing up to throw their hats into the ring, and there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Grumpy Cat is reputed to be in contention, as well as Youtube star Maru. (You can mock, but Maru’s videos have been viewed over 300 million times. How many people have watched your Youtube videos, human? Yeah, thought so.)
(Maru. He’s cuter than you. Sorry, but we have to face facts.)
Of course there’s a serious purpose to this silliness: it’s to promote “Singles Day.” November 11 has become known as 光棍节 (guanggun jie), a day when young Chinese people celebrate their single status (11/11 – get it?). Retailers seized on the potential of all that disposable income and turned what was once a students’ joke into a sales bonanza equivalent to the US Black Friday. Alibaba have even trademarked the term 双十一 (shuang shi yi, meaning “double 11”).
The whole thing is a brilliant PR stunt, albeit one which would be absolutely inexplicable to previous generations. But still, if you think your cat is the cutest in China (and let’s face it, you do), then all you have to do is to upload your moggy’s picture and biography to Weibo. You too – or at least your pet – could be a star.