It’s a career arc we’re familiar with by now: years of toiling online to build up a devoted fan base, followed by global fame and finally a lucrative contract in real-world media. Except this time, it’s a cat.
Maru, perhaps the most popular feline on the Internet, has a body of work that extends all the way back to 2008 and has amassed an impressive 173 million views and counting.
Now he’s hit the big time, starring in a commercial for Uniqlo.
Sadly, the company isn’t branching out into pet wear, so don’t expect to see Maru modeling. Instead, the ads show the Scottish Ford adorably playing with red cubes and inviting viewers to take part in an online competition ahead of the opening of a new Uniqlo branch in San Francisco on Oct. 5.
At one point he jumps into one of the cubes, harking back to the early videos that first catapulted him to fame, in which he valiantly (though not always successfully) attempts to fit himself into cardboard boxes of various sizes.
While this may be Maru’s biggest professional gig to date, he previously caught the attention of Entertainment Weekly, which in 2009 named his “Maru and the Big Box” video one of its notable kitty videos. Within a year, he was also featured in the New York Times.
The seasoned showbiz veteran has even appeared in an earlier commercial, advertising cat-litter brand Fresh Step.