Meet Stepan, the Ukrainian cat-influencer who won Britney’s heart and is now advertising Valentino
The Italian fashion house Valentino has bought advertising from Ukrainian Influencer cat Stepan. The photo, featuring the popular pet demonstrating the luxury purse, was posted on his account on November 30 and, at the time of writing, has garnered more than 200,000 likes. AIN.UA is sharing the secrets of Stepan’s success.
Influencer cat Stepan: the beginning
Stepan is 13 years old. He lives in Kharkiv, Ukraine, with his owner Hanna, who rescued him from the street when he was a month old.
Hanna created a TikTok account for the cat in 2019 to “show him off to the world.” In the summer of 2021, Stepan’s videos went viral — at the time, he had over 400,000 followers. Social media users were captivated by bored Stepan sitting with a glass of wine listening to cheerful music. Commenters said they understood the cat, remembering similar boring parties and sad birthdays.
Actually, Stepan is not bored — he just takes a nap. According to Hanna, the cat always looks like he is slowly falling asleep at the dinner table, so all she needs to do to produce content is to swap the glasses.
Hanna started posting videos with cocktails after a video showing “sad” Stepan looking at the pizza. It has gotten 4.5 million views.
A video of Stepan mulling over a glass of wine while listening to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” had garnered 27.3 million views as of July 2021. Over time, the glass of red wine has become Stepan’s signature accessory.
Today, the cat’s TikTok videos are getting millions of views and likes. He already has almost a million followers.
In August 2020, Influencer cat Stepan also got an Instagram page. He now has almost 800,000 followers. And exactly Stepan’s Instagram account helped him become world-famous. On November 24, American singer Britney Spears shared his photo on her Instagram. At the time of writing, the post garnered nearly 1.3 million likes and over 10,000 comments.
According to Hanna, Britney is not the first celebrity who has noticed Stepan. Previously, model Hailey Bieber and actress Diane Kruger tagged the cat on their social media accounts. However, only Britney Spears, who is experiencing a new wave of popularity, has made the cat a superstar. Within 24 hours after making the post, 15,000 users from all over the world had started following Stepan. And a few days later, Valentino offered to collaborate.
Stepan’s career and earnings
The contract with Valentino was not the first advertisement on Stepan’s account – earlier users also ordered birthday greetings and other small ads. Besides, as Anna told vogue.ua, Stepan was mentioned on Discovery Channel. Also, MTV bought the rights to one of his videos.
The cat is also expected to soon appear on the official pages of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Ukrainian TV channel STB has recently made a video about Stepan. In this video, Hanna said that despite her contract with Valentino and other collaborations, she is not earning crazy money now. She said she spends more on props for the new videos.
She also tries to remain anonymous. Only her closest family members and friends know who is behind Stepan’s profile.
Why it is interesting
Animal blogs on social media can also turn into a business for their owners, just like Lifestyle blogs. The only condition is to make your pet famous. And after that, just wait for cooperation offers.
Perhaps the most interesting example of such a case is Grumpy Cat. A cat named Tartar Sauce became famous all over the world because of malocclusion and brought her owner millions of dollars.
Grumpy Cat has become the most popular cat meme after her photo first appeared on Reddit in 2012. According to the Daily Express, Grumpy Cat earned about $100 million in her lifetime (Tartar passed away in 2019), though her owner Tabatha Bundesen denies it. She does not disclose the actual amount of her pet’s earnings. However, just a few days after Grumpy Cat appeared in the media, Tabatha could quit the restaurant where she worked as a waitress and start a new life.
Grampy used to make money from product advertising, participating in a huge number of events, as well as selling her own merch. She even has her own line of pet products. Grumpy Cat’s trademark is protected by US law, which allowed Tabatha in 2018 to sue the owners of a US coffee company for using Grumpy’s image for commercial purposes without permission for $700,000.
Will Stepan repeat the success of the famous Grumpy Cat? Time will tell, but we sincerely wish him success!