Colenso and Samsung solve "black cat selfie" problem with GS5 and Rachael Hale McKenna

  • News
  • September 1, 2014
  • StopPress Team
Colenso and Samsung solve "black cat selfie" problem with GS5 and Rachael Hale McKenna

Black cats have popped up in the Guardian, Telegraph,Daily Mail,3News, New Zealand Herald and many other sites lately, with the RSPCA in the UK claiming black cats are being abandoned because they don’t look good in photos. The UK organisation reported that 70 percent of its cats waiting for adoptions are black and one of the reasons people are ignoring them is they are trickier to photograph.

Even though this hasn't been noticed in New Zealand, and the clickbait could be part of a myth similar to the black dog myth – that there are actually just more black dogs in the population – Samsung New Zealand and Colenso grabbed this topic for a bit of timely content marketing, creating a social campaign to provide a solution for abandoned cats and cat photographers, whilst at the same time highlighting features of their latest smartphone, the Samsung GS5.

Renowned animal photographer Rachael Hale McKenna used the Samsung GS5 to take some pretty cute pics of black cats, and created an instructional video for cat owners for Samsung’s New Zealand Facebook page.

Her formula is: Choose a dark background, set exposure to -2, don’t use flash, avoid direct sunlight, be patient, and maybe it's time to get rid of your old phone.

The campaign has reached 538,368 people, with 33,496 video views and almost 4300 likes, and hundreds of protective black cat lovers voicing their views in the comments.

“With cats being one of the most popular online subjects, we were hoping the video would inspire Kiwis and others the world over, to do a better job of photographing cats and ensure that more cats, regardless of their colour are given a loving home,” said Mike Cornwell, marketing director at Samsung New Zealand, in a release.

Neville Doyle, planning director of digital and social at Colenso said in a release that “'Black Cats' allowed them to use the flexible, real time nature of social conversations to their advantage.

"With the gap between branded content creation and consumer consumption growing wider, brands need to creatively find ways integrate themselves into existing consumer conversations. The key though is how to do so in a relevant, entertaining way that truly adds value rather than interrupting consumers.”

For those inspired to recreate what McKenna can do on a smartphone with their moggies, there's always the iPhone Photography Awards ... oh, wait...

Campaign Credits:


Mike Cornwell – Marketing Director

Abbey Waterman – Online Manager


Dan Wright – Creative Director

Beth O’Brien – Art Director

Oriel Davis Lyons – Copy Writer

Victoria Graves – Group Account Director

Maria Bjorkman – Project Director

James Cummins – Business Director

Katie Nimon – Producer

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