EDS Cat Herders

Electronic Data Systems (EDS), a global business and technology services company based in Texas, began a suite of imaginative Super Bowl TV advertisements in 2000 with ‘Cat Herders’. Cowboys talk about their life herding cats, describing the challenges of taking short hairs (as opposed to longhorns) through the open country to their destination at the ranch.

EDS Cat Herder


This man right here is my great grandfather. He’s the first cat herder in our family.
Herding cats. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s easy.
Anybody can herd cattle. Holding together ten thousand half wild short hairs – that’s another thing altogether.
Being a cat herder is probably about the toughest thing I’ve ever done.
I got this one this morning – right here. And if you look at his face, it’s just ripped to shreds, you know.
You see the movies, you hear the stories – it’s … I’m living a dream. Not everyone can do what we do.
I wouldn’t do nothin’ else.
It ain’t an easy job but when you bring a herd into town and you ain’t lost one of them, ain’t a feeling like it in the world.

(Text) In a sense this is what we do. We bring together information, ideas and technologies, and make them go where you want.
(Voiceover)
EDS – managaing the complexities of the digital economy.”

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Managing People Is Like Herding Cats - at Amazon.com The concept was paralleled in a popular business phrase incorporated in the title of the 1997 book, Managing People Is Like Herding Cats – Warren Bennis On Leadership (buy it at Amazon.com)

Credits

The EDS Cat Herders spot was developed at Fallon, Minneapolis, by creative director David Lubars, art director Dean Hanson, copywriter Greg Hahn, executive producer Judy Brink, and agency producer Marty Wetherall.

Filming was directed by John O’Hagan via Hungry Man with producer JD Davison. Working with the Fallon creative team, O’Hagan and Davison recruited real cowboys and real cats and took them all to Tejon Ranch, 70 miles north of Los Angeles. The script came largely out of the improvised quips of the cowboys, replacing cattle with cats.

John O’Hagan was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1968. He was raised in the United States, and graduated in cinema from the University of New York. After several short films, his first feature was Wonderland. The Cat Herders ad, and EDS sequels, Airplane and Running with the Squirrels, made his mark in the advertising world. His recent work includes a humorous Tele2 campaign from Sweden; work for Dentyne through MacLaren/McCann; and an HP spot from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, SF.

John OHagan has moved from Hungry Man to RSA Films and includes the Cat Herders spot in his online collection of work there.

EDS Cat Herders

CGI was done by Sight Effects, Venice, California. The results are side-splitting but inspiring!

Bob Wendt, post producer, features Cat Herders on his site with a promotion by Bill Clinton. See my post from July 31 for more details.

Editor was Gordon Carey at FilmCore.

Sound and music for ‘Cat Herders’ were mixed at Margarita Mix, Santa Monica, under the direction of chief engineer Jimmy Hite.

Music was the responsiblity of Asche & Spencer.

POST SCRIPT

Fallon no longer have the EDS account. When EDS put the account out for open tender Fallon decided not to compete.

  • jack

    so how do I get a short video of herding cats that i can use in a short presentation?

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know where I can find a download of the Airplane ad (it is hilarious — it shows people trying to build a plane while it’s flying!)
    Take care, and thanks!

  • Cari

    I was telling my son’s kindergarten teacher about this commercial. As a classroom volunteer, somedays those kids really act like cats and I thought the teachers were the cowboys. Now when they get rowdy and aren’t listening but doing their own cat-like things, I just meow at her and she starts to laugh! Totally changes her mood around, knowing that she isn’t alone in her “Cat Herding” profession.

  • http://www.theinspirationroom.com Duncan

    Hi Cari. You’re so right about the job of kindergarten teacher being like car herder. I’ve seen a number of other professions relate to the ad like that as well… youth workers and teachers in particular.

  • Orville Wright

    I agree that the “Airplane” ad was in the same league as Cat Herders -very funny and a perfect metaphor. The third one with the Squirrels not so funny.

    Does anyone know where a good quality copy of Airplane can be found?

  • Beth

    I’m looking for the Airplane commercial as well. Has anyone been successful in finding a good copy?

  • Kary

    Here’s a Youtube link to the “Airplane” commercial for EDS

    Enjoy!! Its is one of my favorites.
    Kary

  • Bluehachiroku

    I’m trying desperately to locate a copy of the 1994 Guiness ad where the chap dances around whilst waiting for the Guiness to settle. I have found reference to it,the music and the actor in it,but not the video.I guess ’94 is a long time ago to have decent recordings.
    But I love the cat ad.

  • l.dines

    So what happened to the cats?

  • doris lewis

    How can I get a copy of this ad? It’s the funniest I’ve ever seen.
    The Cat Lady

  • V EASTER

    Do anyone know where I can get a copy of the Commercial? It’s the best I’ve ever seen. T-Shirts or anything related to the commercial?? Thanks a bunch. VE

  • SK

    Does anyone know what the music track at the end of the commercial is?

    Cheers. SK

  • Marcus Aurielus

    In the Post scipt notes “Bob Wendt” is listed as John’s producer @ Hungry Man. In fact he was the postproduction supervisor. The actual producer was JD Davison @ Hungry Man. I’ve worked with him and he’s an amazing producer. In tracking downa copy of the spot you can ask RSA in Los Angeles since John is no longer affiliated with Hungry Man.

  • Mr. Wheezer

    I believe this spot was nominated by the Museum of Film & TV as one of the 50 best all time Super Bowl spots. I’d rank it in the top 5, after the Apple 1984 spot but not far behind. Well directed, well produced, excellent casting.

  • Marvin Barnes

    Just saw that the producer on Cat Herders, JD Davison was also the producer for the Grand Prix winner, “Enemy Weapon,” at the 2008 Cannes Festival, directed by Simon McQuoid.

  • http://cat-advice.com/ Cat Advice

    Thanks, I found this post to be actually quite helpful.

  • Kris

    Where can I find the actor’s names for this commercial? I know it says they are real cowboys, but there are a couple that I KNOW I’ve seen on shows before.

  • http://www.empowernetwork.com/leonardcreel leonardcreel

    What an amazing and inventive way to advertise! Who knew cat herding could be so easy!