The link between cats and National Cat Herders Day is kind of like the link between cowboys and cats. It gained renown with the EDS Superbowl commercial from 2000:
America has changed much in the last 21 years. Politics, technology, and popular culture are so different from the turn of the century that it’s almost impossible to compare. However, there’s one thing that we can unequivocally say hasn’t changed – Electronic Data Systems’s (EDS) Cat Herders commercial is still one of the best.
The concept of the ad is built around that expression, “It’s like herding cats,” which generally refers to trying to control the uncontrollable. The cowboys successfully herding the cats is therefore analogous to EDS’s ability to solve seemingly unsolvable problems.
“Cat Herders” was a highly successful Super Bowl spot at the time. The Fallon Agency-produced spot won numerous awards including a First Boards Award, a Cannes Silver Lio, a bronze Clio, Advertising Age’s Best Visual Effects Award, and a silver EFFIE Award, and received an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Commercial. In addition, then-president Bill Clinton cited it as his favorite Super Bowl commercial of the year.
The ad’s reputation has only grown over time. In a 2016 piece on memorable Super Bowl commercials, Linkdex said of the “Cat Herders” ad in retrospect:
“It’s all in the details though: from the cowboy using his lint roller on his jacket to the sublime rationale line, “In a sense this is what we do.” It’s the best of what ad agency Fallon was producing — funny, poignant and outsmarting the competition.”
The Linkdex piece also discussed the affect the ad had on EDS’s business, explaining, “Visits to eds.com quadrupled to nearly 2 million the Monday after the game and reached nearly 7 million in the week after the event, per a news release. The company estimated that for every dollar spent on Super Bowl advertising, it garnered a $5 to $7 return in media value.” (A marketer’s dream come true!)
While the “Cat Herders” ad’s reputation has only grown over time, EDS itself no longer exists. The company was purchased by Hewlett Packard in 2008, and the name was phased out.
National Cat Herders Day History
Invented by the authors of Wellcat, this holiday, according to their web site:
If you can say that your job, or even your life, is like trying to herd cats, then this day is for you, with our sympathy.
- In 1997 Warren G. Bennis published a book named “Managing People is Like Herding Cats.” that talks about leadership management.
- A report from the BBC earth story comes to the defense of cats. According to the article, it’s almost impossible to herd cats due to evolutionary reasons. The domestic cat as of now, does not find any benefits of living in a herd.
How We Can Observe National Cat Herders Day
- Try out the art of cat herding.
You can do this literally by getting a few cats and trying to herd them with a shepherd hook in an old-fashioned way of trying to train them all to do a trick. Failure is a certainty so this is just a fun exercise to know what it feels like to herd a bunch of cats.
- Be Thankful!
Remember to thank the cat-herders who have influenced you and have been part of your life. Appreciate them for their consistency and hard work whether it’s your mom or your boss. (Be thankful that you don’t herd real cats for a living!)
- Unleash the Cat herder in you!
Take up challenging tasks and get out of your comfort zone.
- Let The World Know!
Share the photos, videos and memes of your favorite cat-herders with hashtags #NationalCatHerderDay and #CatHerderDay
We hope you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek look at National Cat Herders Day and had a good laugh at the EDS commercial!