Holiday Campaign Interview: Bodega Cat

"I herd the cats."


Scot Beck
EVP McCann Worldgroup, New York
In a few words, tell us about your role in the creation of " Bodega Cat"


I oversee the relationship between McCann and the NY Lottery. I herd the cats.
What was the original brief for this campaign?
Scratch-off tickets have always been a fun, low fuss holiday gift. But the folks who often gift them are the ones that already play them. Which means if you’re not a player yourself, you’re unlikely to gift them. So, this was our challenge. The brief was to inspire all New Yorkers (players and non-players alike) “to give a little holiday magic” with Scratch-Offs from the New York Lottery.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
Most holiday advertising in this category uses humor. We wanted to take a different approach and connect Holiday Scratch-offs with the warmth and emotion that surround the holiday season. We spent a lot of time watching holiday classics like Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Carol. What we discovered was the stories that we connected to most as kids (and now) were the ones that had a sense of wonder, warmth, magic and an element of surprise. We wanted to tap into some of that.
How difficult was it to sell the idea to New York Lottery?
On a scale of 1 to 10, probably a 3. Seriously, how could you not love a story of an adorable bodega cat hopping on a city bus on a snowy night to deliver a holiday scratch off?
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
I remember early on in the process our Producer pulled me aside and said “Scot, have you seen the cat training videos?” It was then I knew we were in for an interesting ride.
What did you learn from the experience?
Beautiful storytelling always wins.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
If you look closely you’ll find a couple references to Miracle on 34th Street. First, the street sign next to the bodega. And second, the cane leaning against the mantle in the ad’s finale–a nod to the ending of the film where the characters find evidence that maybe Kris Kringle is actually Santa Claus.
What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?
Take a stand more.
What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?
The John Lewis work. It’s like the Super Bowl of Christmas advertising. People wait all year for it and it never disappoints. Plus, every year they add a charitable component which I love. My all-time favorite is last year’s Buster the Boxer. It never gets old watching animals jumping for joy on a trampoline.


Scot Beck
EVP McCann Worldgroup, New York