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No.1 Most Read Article of 2013: Home Depot's Richard the Cat Mocks How-To Helpless Humans

  |  January 1, 2014   |  Comments

The springtime campaign includes content on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, as well as a meme generator and Funny or Die videos.

This story was originally published on April 25, 2013, and as the top post of the year, ends our countdown of the 10 most popular ClickZ stories of 2013. As ClickZ looks back over the past year, we're celebrating the best of 2013, as determined by you, our readers. Enjoy!

Think Grumpy Cat is the only moody spokescat on the Internet? Think again.

The Home Depot is using another surly feline, Richard the Cat, in its online springtime promotional efforts.

According to his Tumblr bio, Richard the Cat is an outdoor expert stuck with "‘how-to' helpless humans."

Distinctively disdainful of people -- particularly when it comes to springtime gardening -- Richard tweets messages like, "When the humans #DigIn outside, they say they're ‘planting.' So far, they've successfully grown a garden of weeds," from his Twitter handle, @RichardtheCat, which had 660 followers as of Wednesday.

However, according to an email from a Home Depot rep, "once you get to know Richard, you realize he's not so much surly as he is a mature feline who is impatient with the people (and pets) who surround him and are operating with less experience and knowledge than he."

The rep says Home Depot has created native experiences for Richard to "engrain him in spring scenery."

Home Depot's springtime campaign is tied together with the hashtag #DigIn on networks including Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

"The hashtag is a great way for us to centralize conversation and interact with people in a fun, personal way," the rep says.

Richard's Tumblr features charts, GIFs and memes. Some memes play on popular culture, like, "I didn't need to play a game for this throne." Virtually all express disdain for people and/or dogs.

Richard and his Tumblr launched in November 2012 to coincide with the holiday season, but they're now understandably focused on springtime rituals. (However, over the holidays, Home Depot says Richard reached an audience of more than 54.6 million over-indexed strongly for college-educated 18-to-34 year-old females.)

Richard the Cat also has a Meme Generator that allows users to pair images of Richard with text like, "I've seen a lot in my lives. Mostly, human error," and, "Shedding. My version of interior decorating."

Users can submit memes for a chance to win Home Depot gift cards. In order to qualify, they must submit their name, email and zip code. As of Wednesday there were about 100 memes in the gallery.

Home Depot is also promoting the giveaway on its Facebook page, which has 1 million likes.

In addition, Richard the cat is featured in two Funny or Die Videos, which have 39,000 and 27,000 views, respectively. They focus on Richard's disdain for his humans' yard care and desire to create a backyard feline utopia.

Richard is even featured in a story from satirical news organization The Onion

"We wanted to develop something that was authentic to and in the channels in which we were participating," the rep says. "From the beginning, we've worked really closely with a comedy writer from Funny or Die to keep our content fresh, sarcastic and authentically Richard. We think that humor plays well in social channels and Richard's voice gives our brand an opportunity to step outside that box and connect with new audiences."

Noting everyone loves a sarcastic cat, Home Depot says it is targeting its usual consumer base with a strong focus on Millennials.

Banner ads featuring Richard the Cat are running on sites like Funny or Die and Blip.TV. A branded integration with Buzzfeed will appear next month.


Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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