CAT Built For It

Content marketing to promote construction machinery

With its video series Built for It trials, Cat demonstrates that content marketing isn’t just for consumer-centric or ‘pop culture’ brands. The series features Cat heavy equipment operators, smart phones and mini excavators put to the test in awe-inspiring scenarios – from playing the world’s largest Jenga game – to assembling a pyramid of wine glasses in a China shop.

12 videos including teasers, behind-the scenes and the trials themselves have been published over April and May and have crossed 5.5 million views on YouTube.

The videos are helping the company reach today’s web-savvy customers and break away from its conservative image.

As Cat’s Creative Director for global brand marketing Archie Lyons said in an interview with AdAge:

“Cat is an iconic brand and sometimes we get misperceived on who we are. Our loyal customers and our global employees know so we wanted a fun, friendly, more human approach so that new customers coming in to buy heavy equipment or an engine manufacturer may give us a fair shake.” 

The Trials

Cat launched “Built for It” last fall with a traditional print campaign. The video footage of the trials do a better job of demonstrating the truth behind its claim.

So far, three trials have been released:

  1. Stack: the Largest Jenga Game ever played, starring CatT excavators & telehandlers

In Stack, five machines come together to play a game of Jenga with 27 wooden blocks – each weighing 600 pounds. The trial demonstrates the precision, control capabilities and individual strengths of each of the machines. It was filmed over two weeks at a Cat testing facility.

Stack received 1.5 million views on YouTube and 28 million estimated impressions on Twitter within two weeks of going live.

Watch: Largest JENGA® Game Played with Cat® Excavators

  1. Gravity, starring the Cat Phone

The second trial begins with a CAT Material Handler dropping a B15 smartphone 35 feet below into a pool of water and picking it up. An operator demonstrates that the phone still works. He then places it alongside 599 other phones and runs a Cat Multi Terrain Loader over the lot. A team of operators demonstrate that all the phones still work – proving Cat’s claim that its phones are as rugged as its other machines.

Watch: Built For It™ Trials — Gravity: Cat® Phone Put to the Test

  1. China Shop, starring the Cat Mini Excavator

The latest trial follows a CAT Mini Excavator as it enters a China shop, grazes by delicate plates and showpieces, picks up a wine glass by the stem and places it on the top of a pyramid of glasses – without breaking anything. The message? Cat machines are built for precision.

Watch: Built For It™ Trials — Cat® Mini Excavator Proves It’s Not a “Bull in a China Shop”

How’d they do it?

The trials took nine months of planning, out of the box creativity, conviction and deep collaboration.

Nicole Serena, social media community manager for Cat’s global brand marketing division, shared:

“We did a lot of brainstorming, and were open to all ideas – even the ones that would be incredibly challenging. We worked closely with the demonstration instructors at one of our demo facilities and they helped us understand what could and couldn’t be done.”

In the behind-the-scenes content, Cat operators admit that they weren’t entirely sure if some of the stunts were feasible. By the third trial though, operators were more daring, and asked for maneuvering space in the China Shop be reduced to the bare minimum.

Watch: Built For It™ Trials – Stack: Behind the Scenes

Leveraging Employees’ Social EQ

This campaign wasn’t Cat’s first foray in content marketing. (The brand has been active on YouTube since 2008, with over 15 channels and over 1,500 videos, and has received over 24 million views.) But it does demonstrate a huge effort by the global marketing team to align the different product teams, operators and the global employee and dealer base.

To boost the videos’ social reach, Cat reached out to its 118,000 employees and 160,000 deal employees and asked them to share the videos with friends and family.

Serena shared:

 “We segment our social media accounts by brand, industry and dealers. With 178 global dealers, and over 20 industries we serve, that’s quite a few Caterpillar accounts.”

This post is part of the People’s Insights monthly brief for April + May.

04 April & May – People’s Insights Monthly Briefs by MSLGROUP

Nidhi Chimnani

Nidhi Chimnani

Nidhi is Director of Research and Insights at MSLGROUP. She tracks digital consumer trends for People’s Insights and is community manager of MSLGROUP’s insights community SPRINT. Tweet her at @nidhichimnani

4 Responses to “CAT Built For It”

  1. Nidhi Makhija (@NidhiMakhija)

    RT @PeoplesLab: Sometimes it’s a video about cute cats that goes viral. Other times, its a video about heavy duty Cats in action http://t.c…

  2. MSLGROUP (@msl_group)

    RT @PeoplesLab: Sometimes it’s a video about cute cats that goes viral. Other times, its a video about heavy duty Cats in action http://t.c…

  3. MSLGROUP Peoples Lab (@PeoplesLab)

    Heavy vehicle manufacturer Cat took months to create it’s Built for It trials content – and only days to go viral

  4. MSLGROUP Peoples Lab (@PeoplesLab)

    Content marketing to promote construction machinery… Cat Built for It –


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