McAfee Webisodes Highlight Cybercrime Threat

McAfee episode 1For many, the thought of identity theft is an abstract -- something that's out there, but may not happen to them. McAfee, maker of virus and Internet protection software, is looking to change that through an episodic Web-documentary that chronicles just how pervasive the problem of cybercrime has become.

"People just don't understand how big a business this is," Geoff Gougion, managing director of Tribal DDB, tells Marketing Daily. "We needed to make the problem real for them -- we needed to make it urgent and we needed to make it simple."

The film, developed jointly by Omnicom agencies DDB West and Tribal DDB San Francisco, is entitled "H*Commerce. The Business of Hacking You." The term H*Commerce stands for Hacker Commerce, defined as the business of making money (and compromising personal and business data) through illegal use of technology.

"Far too many people don't understand the magnitude of what's out there," says Lisa Bennett, chief creative officer of DDB West. "[The film] is to help people understand the seriousness of this issue."

Shot by Seth Gordon (who directed the documentary "The King of Kong -- A Fistful of Quarters," the film is broken into six segments, which will be posted every two weeks over a 12-week period at www.StopHCommerce.com.

The film follows the personal story of Janella Spears, who lost more than $440,000 in an elaborate e-mail scam, and the effect the cybercrime had on her marriage and life. The film also includes input from experts, former hackers and cyber forensic experts to add context and perspective. (In one sequence in the first episode, cyber forensic expert Chris Roberts shows how he can hack into all sorts of Bluetooth-enabled devices while driving down the freeway.)

"There are so many new threats coming out," says Bob Kennedy, director of global marketing programs and advertising for McAfee. "The threats are constantly happening. If everyone had security software, it would be different."

While the site includes information about McAfee and its suite of protection products, the main goal of the effort is to educate consumers about the issue, Gougion says. "It got to the point where they could continue to put out ads, but they realized they needed to expand the conversation and drive the category," he says. "They're really focused on the big picture. People aren't aware of what could happen."

McAfee will promote the site through an extensive online and social media campaign that will include banner ads, trailers and some out-of-home ads. The company is also hitting New York and San Francisco with a poster campaign that features artwork similar to the one-sheets created by Saul Bass for Alfred Hitchcock. The out-of-home campaign will also contain a mobile code in which people can view trailers and receive updates on their mobile devices.

The online component, which will combine the poster imagery with video of trailers, will appear on sites such as Hulu, ABC.com, NBC.com, CBS.com, NYTimes.com, Forbes.com and wired.com. Hulu.com will also feature the episodes in its documentary channel, Bennett says.

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