Friskies taps into fame of sour puss for its spokescat

Grumpy Cat’s new gig adds to endorsement list

9/20/2013
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Grumpy Cat’s famous face made its debut on the Web site Reddit in September 2012. A YouTube video went viral, catapulting the feline whose real name in Tardar Sauce into other lucrative deals.
Grumpy Cat’s famous face made its debut on the Web site Reddit in September 2012. A YouTube video went viral, catapulting the feline whose real name in Tardar Sauce into other lucrative deals.

ST. LOUIS — Grumpy Cat is ready for her close-up.

St. Louis-based pet food giant Nestle Purina PetCare Co. has announced an endorsement deal with one of the most recognizable felines in America to be the new “spokescat” for its Friskies cat food and treats.

Internet celebrity Grumpy Cat has legions of fans online, drawing the interest of Nestle Purina, a division of Swiss-based Nestle S.A. that has invested heavily in social media marketing, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

With the deal, Grumpy Cat — whose real name is Tardar Sauce — is about to get a lot more exposure.

“Enlisting the help of Grumpy Cat allows us to extend our reach to new cat owners,” Friskies Brand Manager Shawn Brain said. “She, ironically, makes you smile seeing her face, even if you’re sick or having a bad day.”

The 1½-year-old female mixed-breed cat, owned by Tabatha Bundesen of Phoenix, was living in relative obscurity until a photo of her frown was posted on the Web site Reddit in September, 2012.

A YouTube video created by Ms. Bundesen’s brother attracted 1 million views in 24 hours. It has grown to nearly 13 million views and has spawned more videos of the brown-and-white cat.

In a year, Grumpy Cat’s Facebook page has 1.3 million “likes,” and the cat has more than 111,000 followers on Twitter.

Nestle Purina has featured Grumpy Cat in an online video game series, Will Kitty Play With It? Financial terms of the endorsement deal were not released.

The cat has a movie deal in the works, a merchandise line, a best-selling book, and an iced coffee drink that is set to debut soon.