Petfluencers rule the internet. Can Emma Beddington transform her gloomy pet into a social media sensation?
Grumpy Cat, the internets favourite seemingly furious feline, died in May, to a global outpouring of sadness, an emotion she would presumably have appreciated. The demise of the creature whose peevish underbite launched a thousand merchandising and sponsorship deals, from cereal and soft toys to video games (not to mention a surprising number of tattoos), has doubtless left a gap in her owners the Bundesens hearts, but it has also opened up an opportunity in the petfluencer (sorry, its a thing) market.
This is excellent news for me, because times are tough for freelance writers and I have decided my bad-tempered elderly whippet, Oscar, needs to start pulling his weight. I adore him, but after 10 years of freeloading, 98% of which has been spent asleep and eschewing affection, the final straw came at Easter when he ruined a carpet to the tune of 785 after stealing and eating a rotten kebab.
The digital pet landscape may be far more saturated than it was in Grumpy Cats heyday, but opportunities still abound for enterprising animals (or more accurately, their anthropomorphising owners). Why? Because we live in an age that idolises them: an age of handbag dogs, emotional support peacocks and luxury cat hotels. Animal influencers have real financial clout, attracting brand partnerships, sponsors and merchandising opportunities. Its easy to see why. Animals dont get gropey at parties or turn out to be horrifyingly racist; they simply make us feel good. US superstar pets can earn up to $16,000 for a social media post. In her book Influencer, digital guru Brittany Hennessy wrote she once paid a dog $32,000 for two Facebook posts, one Instagram post, and one tweet. There are whole years I have earned less than that.