I still don’t believe I was able to do a whole social media campaign around a cat at NVIDIA. People there probably thought dafuq is this new guy doing? Ok so…I know the title is a little unorthodox, but I promise it is relevant. Full disclaimer, I love cats. Like, LOVE THEM. The first thing I have to point out is that my tenure at NVIDIA was a about 2.5 years, I was a managing social and community there. It’s is your typical Silicon Valley campus feel, very pet friendly (should be read dog friendly). I was in the SHIELD business unit. What is NVIDIA SHIELD? It is described as:
“The world’s most advanced streamer, offering the best in entertainment and the perfect fit for your Google-connected lifestyle.”
It’s pretty much marketing speak. In fact, in real world conversations and personal social media engagements, I usually describe it around something like, “the best set top box you can get for all your local and streaming content from movies to video games – that’s also a smart home hub.” The challenging aspect in explaining this happens when someone says “what’s a set top box? What’s a streaming box?” This actually happened at a joint GeForce / SHIELD activation at a local community college. For the most part, younger folks (early end of millennials) consume content from their computers and youtube. Anyways, back to cats.
When I started at NVIDIA, I was thrown into the fire. I was
told warned that the culture moves very fast and the SHIELD unit was growing. One of the mantras they talked about in my orientation was that they moved at the “speed of light,” and it was true. Within the first month I was given the task to work with my internal team, in collaboration with creative and an external agency on a huge social media campaign. It eventually made it to CNET, Landt’s 10 Marketing Campaigns That Go Above and Beyond, Creativity Online / AdAge, Gamespot.
The campaign was #RuleTheLivingRoom, NVIDIA’s take on an “extreme living room experience” with the NVIDIA SHIELD…at a free fall reaching up to 125 mph from 10,000 feet in the air. Jeff Provenzano was the guy for the job, a RedBull Wings athlete who was dropped from an C-130 plane. While in freefall, Jeff is enjoying his NVIDIA SHIELD like any normal person would at that rate, calmly. You know, casually watching movies and switching over to play video games here and there. While the living room plummets, he deploys like the action hero he is to take his landing. He makes it safely to the ground with the SHIELD in hand. Followed by his cat with the parachute, safe and sound. The cat made it!
I recall launching the video and two things bubbled up the most in the community: Was the living drop real or CGI? And what happened to the cat? To answer the first question, yes it was very real. I believe 2 to 3 physically built living rooms were dropped from the sky. We showed proof with behind the scenes videos. The second question regarding the cat came to fruition largely because I am obsessed with cats and out social media listening tools did pick it up – we decided to do something about it.
Did you know the cat had its’ own agent? And yes, the cat is safe – we did not throw him out the plane. PETA was there. I think. Anyways, this was slightly after mid 2015 and during this time I was lurking hard on photoshop subreddit’s so to have the cat really take a life of its’ own, it needed to be the star! Long story short, the campaign continued to feed off conversations of the cat. People could download a zip file (legit, it was the ‘cat kit’) that contained transparent png files, animations and other assets to create their own cat drop of where the cat went. Some of my favorites, including the grand prize winner: