Symantec Goes Phishing in SafetyTown

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Symantec "SafetyTown"
Welcome to SafetyTown. Population? Anyone with a computer and concerns about internet theft. Created by Night Agency as part of Symantec's first ever interactive marketing campaign, the microsite is home to a web-film series that educates computer owners about the perils of online identity theft through one victim's epic quest to bring his offender to justice. "The client wanted something that was purely entertaining," says Night Agency creative director Scott Cohn. "They weren't looking to promote any single product, but rather the sum total of their mission to empower people to experience the full fruit of the internet without fear. The branding was to be soft, the tie-in being thematic. We went through different possibilities, including games or videos or an interactive microsite—but ultimately determined that we could do all of these things and deliver them as a streamlined experience."

Entitled "Phished," the four-part web-film series was written, directed and produced by Night Agency and stars "The State" funnyman Kevin Allison as Steve Porter, an average web user who discovers a bogus charge on his credit card. During the course of his inspired search for the bastard who stole his identity, viewers can take part in the action through a "choose your own adventure"-type feature. "We wanted to open up the story a bit and let users play around with some alternative scenarios for our hero," says Cohn. "Choosing from several options will yield some fun extra footage, and future episodes may have different forms of audience participation." One thing viewers won't have to deal with as Steve's misadventure unfolds? An excessive amount of branding. "The movies themselves have no overt product placement," says Cohn. "Although we are partial to the yellow found in the Symantec logo." In addition to debuting on (the first episode is available now, with a new episode going live every week), each installment of "Phished" will be seeded among blogs, entertainment sites and online video forums to maximize the campaign's reach.

The website itself, designed as a virtual movie theater, features plenty of attractions for moviegoing websurfers, including a sweepstakes to win Steve's yellow robe, downloadable MP3s and wallpapers and a trial version of Norton Internet Security software. "At the moment, SafetyTown isn't a very big town, but we will continue to add features and further populate the town with new content and experiences as time goes on," says Cohn. "I foresee a pizza place in the near future—people need to eat!"
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