Maria Lopez Fernandez

Social Media: Mass personalization starts with Catsies

July 29th, 2014

As a young 20-something, I understand your pain when it comes to social media.

You see hashtags and acronyms online and wonder where the world is headed. Then, just when Justin Bieber makes you want to crawl under a rock, you see #Catsies.



Catsies are a real thing.

It means cat selfies, and it was created by Virgin Mobile USA to generate buzz for the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the idea is (arguably) genius. Recently, the company also launched a contest for the best Catsie to be crowned the Virgin Mobile #Catsie Spokescat, among other branded prizes.

Virgin Mobile’s target audience is a younger crowd and let’s face it: My peers and I are a little obsessed with cats.

Well played, Virgin Mobile.

I wanted to mention there’s also more to the campaign strategy than cute closeups of your calico.

By thinking outside the (litter) box and leveraging the interest of a specific audience, Virgin Mobile is taking a new approach to mass personalization.

The idea of mass personalization sounds somewhat paradoxical, but it’s where the roads of tech, design and culture appear to be taking us (and our cats).

Here’s what it looks like when broken down:

  • Target audience: People who like, or may have an interest in, cats
  • Purpose: Drive sales for Samsung Galaxy S5, and increase visits to the Virgin Mobile site
  • Method: New Catsies page, Catsie contest, Twitter hashtag, behind-the-scenes video


Creating a mass personalized campaign is like planning a kid’s birthday party

Mass personalized campaigns sound more difficult than they really are.

I’m not saying mass personalization campaigns are safe from a quick spiral into a highly complex strategy to execute, especially if you’re thinking of a multichannel approach.

When you strip mass personalization campaigns down to the core elements, you have almost the same list of bases to cover that you would in planning a child’s birthday party.



Take a look at the table I put together and feel free to add any recommendations in comments section below.

Also, don’t forget the cake.


Mass personalization is also about community

Customers want to feel special.

They also want to belong to something bigger than themselves and your products. This quality what I would argue is the lifeblood of social media.

It helps your customers relate to you and to each other, one Catsie at a time.


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  1. July 29th, 2014 at 03:17 | #1

    I find the concept of catsies to be very funny, but hey – it works!

    This just shows how important it is to totally understand your audience, who they are, and what their wants and needs are. THAT is the difference between a mediocre business and a hugely successful one.

  2. July 30th, 2014 at 09:45 | #2

    I love the idea and the breakdown of comparing mass personalization to a child’s birthday party. It’s so smart, and it makes mass personalization easier to understand. Thanks, Maria!

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