The Power of Cute

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Apr 11th, 2011
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I can hear it now.

Let me get this straight. You bought a book on screenwriting because it has a cat on the cover.


That’s mad.

No. That’s the Power of Cute.

Though in my defence, the book in question is Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! And it really is a very good book.

Never underestimate the power of cute. If you don’t believe me, just look at the You Tube phenomenon that is “Denver, Our Guilty Dog.” A man makes a simple home movie including his pet Labrador, adds a song from You Tube’s library (more about that in a minute) and overnight, the power of cute sends the simple home movie into the superstar stratosphere.

From first posting on 8th March, Denver has notched up over seven and a quarter million views. She has been on local and national television stations in the US, and her proud owners have decided to pay it forward. You can now buy Denver merchandise in aid of charity.

Of course, this phenomenon has not just benefited charity. The band who provided the song have seen sales of their album soar.

As a child in the playground I discovered quite early on that making people laugh was a really good thing. After all, enemies paralysed by hysterical fits of laughter are therefore unable to catch you when you run away! It was an early attempt at the power of cute… and mostly successful.

Thanks to legions of soft toys, most of us associate fur with cute. That fur can sometimes be ferocious is something we usually pick up later. The essential cuddliness of fur seems to stay with us.

double trouble

Most of my writing contains a pet somewhere. Pets were an essential ingredient when I was growing up. They always provided the funniest stories. Although I would doubt my parents would always have agreed about the humorous aspects. Especially the day that Pepper (Dalmatian) and Rudi (Sealyham) jumped in perfect unison through the front door. The only difficulty was that it was closed at the time, the glass smashed and the postman fled for his life. The dogs were utterly undamaged, but the front door was a write off. My father was not pleased. He said things. My mother was more concerned with the three-foot hole we now had in the front door. Not long after the glass was replaced, a fancy wrought-iron scroll work thing was put on the inside of the door to prevent any further breakouts.

It was incidents like these, and the early distance from my mother (she was a working actress, often out of the door before I was up and back after I was in bed) that set the seal on my relationships with my pets, and a lasting interest in the power of cute.

It works! Even the most hardened cynic has been known to melt at the sight of cute. Puppies, kittens, anything furry with big eyes tends to set off the awwwwwwww in us all.

Dan, my corgi cross knows and understands the power of cute. Whether rolling on his back to present his tummy for a rub, or performing some other trick for an audience, he has everyone enthralled and he knows it.


Cute sells. From an early age we are surrounded by images that are designed to soften us up and make us open our wallets. It’s hard to resist that hypnotic stare!


1 Comment

  • Cloudberry

    Ahh…truer words have never been spoken. I have spent more than a few hard earned dollars on “cute.” I can’t think of a time when “cute” didn’t apply to my senses. Who could say no to a fluffy kitty or a soft little puppy? A cold meany maybe!! But they don’t count!

    Love this: “After all, enemies paralysed by hysterical fits of laughter are therefore unable to catch you when you run away!” I laughed!!

    Thanks for the walk through your cute memories!

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