2020’s Creative Campaigns #14 – Cath Kidston x Animal Crossing

Of course, it was only a matter of time before one of the fantastic campaigns by Rise At Seven made its way on to my blog. I love writing about the most original and creative campaigns I can find, and a lot of their work fits into this narrative.

Their latest campaign is no exception, and furthermore – is right up my street.

I can imagine it’s not always easy to build links for a brand such as Cath Kidston, they have a very distinctive style and an obvious audience. Nevertheless, when you team a creative team with a brand who’s willing to try new ideas – amazing things can happen. Which is what we’ve seen here.

Cath Kidston x Animal Crossing

The release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch was super timely. Launched on the cusp of lockdown, this game has been really popular and has kept many people entertained whilst they’ve had to stay home. Though it doesn’t frequent the media quite as much as it did when it first came out in March, there are still a number of stories that pop up from time to time. Such as, for example, the recent discovery that you can now hire somebody to pull weeds for you on the game. (Where do I sign up for that job?)

It’s clear to see that there’s an opportunity here, so long as your story is disruptive and exciting. It’s really easy when there’s a trendy topic, to want to jump on it any way you can. This, however, can lead to a weak story that saturates the topic, and makes it less interesting to the media. If you’re going to tap into an opportunity like this, you can’t be complacent – you still have to make it interesting.

Obviously, this is no bother for the guys at Rise and Cath Kidston, and the idea they came up with which marries both tech and retail together is one I really really love for a number of reasons, I’ll come on to that in just a moment.

Introducing: Cath Kidston patterns for Animal Crossing. Players can now scan QR codes to add these designs into their game, which they can then use for decorating. This story has already been picked up with multiple nationals, as well as gaming media too. Which is no surprise really.

Cath Kidston Animal Crossing Pattern


Why This Works, And Why I Love It

There are several reasons why I love this campaign, but with my link building hat on I have to say what I love most is the potential for virality that it has. Which we’ve already seen, even. This such an appealing story for journalists to cover, because nothing like this has been seen before, and plus – most of us know and love Cath Kidston for their iconic prints (that would be me, a MASSIVE Cath Kidston fan). Here, there’s an opportunity to integrate them into another aspect of your life. For this reason alone, this campaign ticks the talkability box right off the bat.

Not only this, but the story works really well in attracting links, because an asset has been provided that means for a journalist, adding a link to the story will add value for their readers. Too often I see link building campaigns where the only hook for the link, is a linked brand mention to the homepage of the website. This does work, but not all the time. Sometimes journalists see no point in linking to your site, and therefore think a brand mention will suffice. As link building becomes more and more competitive, you should be offering an asset that needs to be linked out to as part of a story. Here, it’s the QR codes for the patterns, which is simple, but ideal.

And as for why I think this works so well… Well, for one, we all need an escape from reality right now. Animal Crossing: New Horizons gave us just that. From what I can tell on social media, a lot of users still want to inject their personality into the game. It gives them a chance to live out a mini virtual world, whilst things are on hold for lot of us in the real world. As such, if you like the Cath Kidston brand in real life, you’re probably going to want to use these designs in your game too.


Cath Kidston has built up a really good brand for itself, recognisable almost immediately due to their quirky and original prints, no brand has ever even come close with a similar offering. They truly are the leaders for all things ‘disty, floral and cute’, as such, a lot of people resonate with this brand. So, when you match this brand up with a really, really good idea, it’s bound to do well. Cath Kidston have never, as far as I’m aware, done anything like this before; it’s new and trendy move for them. This makes them the perfect example of a brand who knows how to move with the times. Bricks & mortar retail is no longer enough to keep you ticking in this day and age, you need to be innovative and up for new ideas. Something that other, similar businesses have failed to do.

There’s loads I could bang the drum about here, but I think the last thing I’ll say about this campaign and why I really rate it, is that it’s tapped into a new audience. When link building for a big brand, I guess you have to vary things up from time to time. Because this collaboration has crossed the sectors of retail and gaming, the result has been coverage not only in the top-tier nationals, but also in more niche media such as tech titles. This means a number of new inbound links from titles where Cath Kidston never would have appeared before, this will in no doubt have a great impact on their SEO performance, and proves that taking risks pays off.

This why brands who’re up for trying new things, in my opinion, will always prevail.

What else do you love about this campaign? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.


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