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