Google-Backed Security Startup Riffs 'Scapegoat' Campaign

A Google Ventures-backed data-security company launched an advertising and marketing campaign this week riffing off the notion of a scapegoat.

“We have a lot of customers in the security world and they tend to get blamed for things that are not their fault,” said Jason Garoutte, CMO at Veza, an authorization platform that keeps track of permissions for employees to access company data. “CISOs get fired when there’s a data breach. It dawned on me that they must feel like a scapegoat, so we wanted to connect with that idea and let them know there’s a solution.”

Garoutte has supported chief information security officers (CISOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) for years. He joined the heavily backed one-year old startup in October 2022, after spending more than four years at Twilio.

Aside from Google Ventures, Veza also is financially backed by Accel, Blackstone, and Northwest Ventures, and supports companies such as American Express, Expedia, Wynn Resorts, and Zoom.

Garoutte, with help from the small marketing team, created the campaign in-house. He personified the character, naming the goat Gurdy -- a nickname for Gertrude. Gurdy, the company mascot and part of the advisory board, wrote and published her first blog this week as part of on why she chose to join Veza. She is a former fed-up CISO, and refuses to take the blame anymore. The title of the post is “Why I Put My Hoof Down & Joined Veza.”

About 100 employees support Veza, with about eight in marketing. With help from the company’s marketing department, Garoutte created a t-shirt and a stuffed animal in Gurdy’s likeness for the Gartner Security show in Dallas, ran an ad on LinkedIn targeting security specialists, and is contemplating running out-of-home (OOH) ads along the East Coast. Airport ads are also quite likely. The company is popular with banks and healthcare companies, he said. The campaign is schedule to run at least a year.

“We do search ads for keywords related to our products, but I don’t see the scapegoat campaign as part of that,” he said. “I see search ads as more of an awareness campaign at the very top of the funnel.”

Many companies are not prepared to deal with data breaches and cyberattacks, mainly because CISOs and CIOs do not know where their data is and who has access to it.

“Data breaches are now commonplace,” Garoutte said. “There are big ones in the news like Equifax and Capital One, and smaller ones. In the past few months, we saw Twilio ... About 75% of these breaches occur because someone’s password gets misused.”

Next story loading loading..