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Swedish Skydiving Cats Ad Sparks Outrage and LOLs

A Swedish insurance company’s ad featuring a troupe of parachuting cats has the fur flying.

 |  Nov 19th 2012  |   17 Contributions


The Folksam firm’s dreams must be coming true. This huge corporation actually managed to produce an ad that went viral. Of course, it does feature cats, so it was almost a given that it would. The trouble is, some animal lovers are hissing mad because the cats in the ad are skydiving.

Folksam created the ad as a result of a customer request. The company asked for ideas for its next ad, and customer Eva Leijonmark responded with something like this: “Hey, why don’t you film a bunch of skydiving cats writing my name in the sky while R. Kelly’s song ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ plays in the background?”

As soon as the commercial went live, people started freaking out. “That’s not funny or cute. It is cruel,” said one cat lover. Another characterized the ad as disturbing and “wrong on so many levels.”

Um, yeah. Except that anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows there’s no way you could train cats to skydive, and certainly no way you could toss a bunch of them out of an airplane and expect them to perform stunt maneuvers in free-fall. That mid air high-five was kind of a giveaway, after all.

Lena Strand, Folksam’s marketing director, reassured the disgruntled viewers that the company had followed the Animal Welfare Act and the cats were not thrown out of an airplane.

People were shot skydiving, and then they were replaced by cats through the use of green screen, a film technique that allows actors to be filmed against a blank screen, after which the background is edited in. A fan was used to create the effect of wind blowing through the cats’ fur.

The only possible explanation for all the furor over the ad is this item from Time’s most popular articles newsfeed:

The English version of the ad had almost 105,000 views as of November 17. If you want to watch it for yourself, you can see it here. It really is pretty funny and cute.

Sources: Time.com, CNN. Images: screen captures from the Folksam ad video

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