I Read Opel’s Grumpy Cat Press Release So You Don’t Have To
Have you ever seen one of those horrible parody films that wants so badly to be Airplane or The Naked Gun, but it’s chock full of expired pop culture references that are so out of date that they elicit more groans than laughs? Opel clearly isn’t familiar with the concept, as someone in its marketing department was like, “What’s something that people were entertained by years ago that just kind of makes people roll their eyes today? Grumpy Cat? No idea what that is, but kids liked it at one point, so let’s roll with it.”
After threatening the world this past summer with the promise of a 2017 calendar that would feature Grumpy Cat and Georgia May Jagger, proclaiming it as the use of “two zeitgeist icons” (note: Opel is German, so it has no excuse for its blatant misunderstanding of the word zeitgeist) to promulgate “women’s power” (because the cat is a girl cat, you see), Opel went ahead and blew it up. Those maniacs.
Watch (or Don’t): Opel 2017 Calendar Shoot with Grumpy Cat
Not that you need me to tell you this, but the whole thing smacks as being every bit the desperate, poorly-conceived attention-grab that you’d think it would be; the brain-child of boardrooms, the false notion of someone having their finger squarely on some pop-culture pulse. It’s bad enough that taking in the above video alone will make you shout at the neighborhood kids to get off your front lawn despite you 1) living in a neighborhood with no children and 2) not even having a yard. Then you will realize that all is sadness and futility, and you will just continue shouting about kids and yards until you are hauled away in a straitjacket and left to die in an asylum somewhere. Thanks, Grumpy Cat.
Just look at the opening paragraph of Opel’s press release announcing this god-awful marketing endeavor. Be warned that these words cannot be unseen, and have been known to drive men and women of strong constitutions to the threshold of madness:
Whoever is spending time on Opel social media channels at the moment is encountering some strange things. For example, for a few days now they’ve been reading [things like] “Community work is sooo important. As if Likes help turnover. #OpelGoesGrumpy.” Now we know who is behind this: Grumpy Cat, star of the new Opel calendar “Georgia & Grumpy—Not impressed by Wonderland” and the most recent member of the Opel social media team. Looks like Opel has not only re-aligned its agencies. Opel Chief Marketing Officer Tina Müller explains how the commotion on social media channels came about: “We should have known. Everyone knows Grumpy Cat’s moods. It was obvious that it’s only a matter of time until it hacks our social media accounts and leaves its catty comments there.”
So Opel is not only perpetuating the myth that Grumpy Cat had a shelf-life beyond showing up in a couple of memes, but they are proudly slapping just the worst hashtag on this campaign as if it were some badge of honor. Worse still, they are actually paying people to write press releases spinning yarns about the cat working for its PR team. All is lost. Art is dead. Soylent Green is Opel.
The press release regarding this whole tawdry affair reveals that there exists some entity known as, honest to god, “Grumpy Squad,” described as “a web special forces commando made up of three top influencers.” There may be no concept more noxious than the idea of the social influencer, but Opel seems bound and determined to find that very concept and trot it out in order to, I dunno, sell cars or something. They even make it a point to mention how many subscribers and followers each of these three people has, as if this somehow makes up for the complete unawareness as to who any of them are or even for the fact that we live in a world where being a YouTube celebrity is somehow a thing.
There is some fan-sourced component to the campaign that involves watching these dinguses’ YouTube videos and looking for clues or something, but I can only presume that you are a person with a modicum of taste and cannot possibly be bothered to care, so whatever. I’m certainly not going to write about it here, but I will mention that the winner gets to “be part of the 13th calendar motif as a model in Grumpy Look with the pimped out Grumpy Car.” Hey, I wasn’t using the brain cells I just slaughtered writing that sentence for anything anyway!
The calendar is part of Opel and Grumpy Cat’s social media campaign, appropriately called “Drive it or hate it.” I, for one, hate it; not in the ironic, Grumpy Cat sense, but in that this is just horrendous in every conceivable way and it really makes me question whether the universe is ambivalent to our existence or actually actively despises us all. It makes those “Real People, Not Actors” commercials look downright charming. Perhaps that’s the idea.
What’s worse: the calendar vernissage doesn’t even occur until February, which means there are probably more press releases along these lines to come. Buckle up and pack you Zoloft, folks. It’s only gonna get bumpier from here on in.
Or should I say…Grumpier? No. No, I shouldn’t say that. Why did I say that? Pretend that I never said that.
Oddly enough, the writer tasked with capturing the voice of an internet-famous cat managed to sum this whole campaign up quite succinctly: “That’s supposed to be funny?” If it is, it certainly ain’t. Perhaps we could reach further back into the annals of memedom, summon Keyboard Cat, and get him to play this thing off.