Cats don’t do sports. Although we love chasing balls, we are not familiar with the concept of “teams,” and we’d like to keep it that way. So there will be no Super Bowl watching here. Some humans, I’ve heard, “just watch it for the commercials,” and while I think this is a waste of time — time that would be better spent playing with their cats and feeding them treats — you most likely remember the “Cat Herders” commercial from Super Bowl XXXIV, in 2000:
Here are some fun facts about the commercial:
- The advertiser, EDS, is an information technology company. They had been around for decades as Electronic Data Systems and were trying to rebrand themselves for the new millennium. Why they wanted to dump a load of money to announce this in a venue that’s best used by consumer product-oriented companies such as Budweiser, Motorola, M&Ms and Pepsi is a question that no one has seemed to answer satisfactorily.
- Unless you work in IT, you probably don’t even remember who the ad is for.
- The commercial was created by the Minneapolis-based ad agency Fallon, which had three other spots in that year’s Super Bowl lineup.
- Only about 60 cats were cast to be in the commercial, many of them with specialties, such as swimming or docility. The scenes where there appear to be hundreds of them are computer generated. The CGI was created by Sight Effects, Inc.
- Also computer generated are the scenes with cats running among the horses. So don’t worry, no feline actors were stomped during the commercial’s making.
- Thirteen cat trainers worked on the filming.
- Most of the humans appearing in this commercial aren’t traditional actors, either — they are real cowboys, who work at ranches in California, Colorado and New Mexico. Supposedly, much of the script was based on dialogue that came from the cowboys themselves.
- The filming was done at Tejon Ranch in Lebec, CA, located off the 5 freeway, north of the Angeles National Forest, but before you hit the Grapvine. Tejon Ranch is a popular filming location.
- When he first saw the commercial, EDS’s vice chairman, Jeff Heller, thought it was “terrible,” and wanted to pull it.
- It was nominated for “Outstanding Commercial” in the 2000 Emmy Awards. The winner that year was Nike’s “The Morning After.”