Friskies hijacks Facebook with real cats

Friskies kicks off a two-week Facebook marketing stunt with the Friskies Plus Playhouse, an interactive live video feed featuring 10 rescue cats playing with remote-controlled toys.

Friskies Plus Playhouse on Facebook
That white blob behind the pole is a cat. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The Internet is for sharing knowledge, interacting with others, and expanding our mental and social horizons. Scrap that. The Internet is for cat videos--and Friskies knows it.

The Friskies Plus Playhouse is a social-media experiment that embeds live feeds of rescue cats into Friskies's Facebook page. Ten cats occupy a feline fantasy penthouse full of scratchers, videos of rodents and birds, an aquarium, wiggling toys, and stacks of cat food cans.

Friskies Plus Playhouse toy control
Here is the live toy-control view. (Click to enlarge.) Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Facebook users can wait in line to activate remote-control toys to drive the felines wild. This is made possible by iPet Companion , a technology system that is already in use in several shelters around the country.

I got in the queue and sat through a 30-minute wait to have my turn. That wait time was filled with live video of adorable fluffernutters strolling around on cat walks, attacking virtual fish on a touch-screen floor, and napping. Mostly napping.

The few frenzied minutes when I was in control of three different toys, as well as camera panning and zooming, was totally worth it. I enticed a black and white fuzzball into attacking a writhing toy.

We've seen some creative Facebook marketing stunts before. The giant chocolate "Like" thumbs-up and live parrot chat come to mind. The Friskies concept is notable for its long-running nature and viewer interactivity.

The playhouse runs through Feb. 19 and goes live between noon and 3 p.m. PST. You can catch up on the day's cutest moments with YouTube highlights.

 

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