For Norton, Stuff Happens ... Live

Opera-SingerSome Facebook posts are funny. Some are romantic. Some can be exciting. Others (perhaps even many) can be mundane. But Norton, maker of Internet and computer security software, is betting all of them can be theater.

On Nov. 30, Norton will undertake a 24-hour online, Facebook experiment called “Stuff Theater,” in which actors, artists and musicians will bring the status updates, pictures and other public information of some of its 170,000 fans to life. The effort, from agency Leo Burnett in Chicago, is an extension of Norton’s recently launched marketing campaign, “Stuff,” which posits that in an increasingly digital world, everything online and on one’s computer needs to be protected.

“The new Norton campaign is about protecting the stuff that matters, and that stuff is your digital life,” Dave Loew, an executive vice president and creative director at the agency, who worked on the campaign, tells Marketing Daily. “Stuff Theater was a way to elevate that message to another level of importance.”



Norton is getting content for the initiative by asking its Facebook fans to volunteer to have their information dramatized. Once volunteers are selected, the agency will cull their information to create something theatrical (and short, as the agency is estimating it will put together around 1,000 vignettes during the 24-hour broadcast period.) A series of videos advertising the program show an opera singer expressing a wish for chicken pot pie, a puppeteer screaming the name “Haley!” over and over again, and a woman dramatically reading (à la Shakespeare), “The sweat on my butt has sweat on its butt.” In the videos, those lines are all revealed to be status updates.

“[Stuff Theater] is also intended to make you think about what your stuff is in a different context,” Jon Wyville, also an executive vice president and creative director at Leo Burnett, tells Marketing Daily. “It’s not just your personal information and passwords, it’s also the things you put online.”

For both the overall “Stuff” campaign, as well as the “Stuff Theater” event, the strategy is to demonstrate that Norton is a computer user’s ally for these digital times. “Norton operates in the background of your computer, and it’s not really present in people’s daily digital activities,” Loew says. “We wanted to bring Norton up front and center, and be a part of digital living.”

But the irony of running a campaign about Internet security in a public forum like Facebook (which has its own privacy controversies often) is not lost on the Norton team. In fact, using a public forum like Facebook, where people share more than they probably know, is key to the current socially oriented, sharing world.

“There’s a fine line between putting things out there, which is what Facebook does, and having people exploit it,” Loew says. “You can put yourself out there, but it doesn’t give people permission to rip you off.”

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