Hillbilly Cat King? Elvis won’t leave the building in Vivo ad

Since 2022, smartphone maker Vivo has been releasing cat-themed animated shorts about an elderly feline couple, centred around love-themed special occasions. For the third year a short ad was released on 20 May, the internet-coined 520 festival, after Qixi 2022 and Valentines Day 2023. This time, it was about a certain “Cat King”.

The black grandpa cat is taking the white granny cat to see her idol, a rock star called the “Cat King” who closely resembles Elvis Presley. As the couple enter the concert, the Cat King sports a pompadour and red jumpsuit, resembling Presley’s 1972 Red Pinwheel jumpsuit and croons into a microphone on the stage from afar. Behind him, a huge sign in red letters reading “Cat King” lights up à la Presley’s “If I Can Dream” performance from his ’68 Comeback Special.

The couple try all manners of ways to get closer to the singer but lands on a billboard farther than they started after a failed caper with a balloon. But all is not lost after a Vivo X100 Ultra phone falls from the outdoor ad featuring Cat King, into the hand of the black cat as if with divine intervention. The two use the telephoto zoom-in lens on the phone to take clear photos of the rock ‘n’ roll star before we see the feline royalty taking selfies backstage with the same phone.

In China, Elvis Presley is commonly referred to as “猫王”, or the “Cat King”, a combination of his early alias “the Hillbilly Cat” and the later title “the King”. Although Elvis Presley is less of a pop culture icon in China, people have usually heard of the name “Cat King”. By making the King an actual cartoon cat, the ad bridges the possible unfamiliarity with a pun and an adorable character.

The ad follows the loving relationship portrayed in the two previous ads and advertises Vivo’s latest smartphone. As live music returned in 2023, the X100 Ultra address the need for super clear photos at concerts, even if from gallery seats. However, the phone will set you back 6,499 RMB (907.16 USD). With the topic “Vivo X100 series” (#vivo X100系列#) accumulating 1.38 billion views on Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, the phone has certainly caught the eyes of netizens.


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