Building on our inaugural XD Academy in 2020, we took the curriculum a step further in 2021 by giving the students a “real life” assignment to develop and execute. Teaming up with our client Malwarebytes, the industry leader in cybersecurity and protection, we challenged the Academy students to come up with new ways to amplify the Malwarebytes brand. We wanted them to generate leads, have consumers consider the company differently and deliver on Malwarebytes' positioning: “cyber protection for every one.”
One of Malwarebytes’ core beliefs is that everyone has the right to cyber protection, and this extends to audiences of the digitally vulnerable: older family members, multigenerational families, kids in school, entrepreneurs, small business owners, schools, day cares and mobile businesses (farmers’ markets, craft-based small businesses, food trucks, etc.). The assignment proved to be timely, considering the occurrence of cybercrime and identity theft has only increased during the pandemic, making the need to protect vulnerable audiences all the more imperative.
Our 2021 XD Academy participants were Eda Kutsal, Edwin Aristilde, Evelyn Chat, Gabrielle Cashe, Janeil Dickens, Melisa Robles Olivar, Paul Flores-Clavel and Zanah Maggio. These eight passionate creatives embarked on the nine-week boot camp and client challenge, and we were all so impressed by the ideas that emerged from their teams. They were creative, insightful, grounded in research and beautifully told.
Here are their final projects:
Mal—The First Viral Anti-Virus
Team 1: Evelyn Chat and Janeil Dickens
Insight: Among consumer audiences (and especially Gen Z), prevailing sentiments are that they are not “high profile” enough to be appealing targets to hackers, that what they have on their devices is enough to protect them from cyberattacks and that if they do need protection, it needs to be convenient and easy.
Idea: Meet “Mal,” antivirus protection in the form of a shareable, virtual pet: a peer-to-peer virus fighter that you share to protect your friends and family. Mal is customizable and “easily transmissible” via social media, and is gamified to encourage the spread and unlock more premium features and protection.
Impact: Mal enables you to spread cyber protection at scale through a “highly infectious” and fun antivirus-virus, to protect yourselves, your families and all of your connections from cyberattacks and harm.
Leave No One Behind
Team 2: Gabrielle Cashe, Melisa Robles Olivar and Paul Flores-Clavel
Insight: Because cybersecurity literacy varies and can feel like an unachievable personal responsibility, this often leaves our most vulnerable at risk to cyber harm. In an increasingly digital-reliant world, Malwarebytes reminds us to leave no one behind.
Idea: “The Fam Bam”: an application that the whole family can use—inclusive of all generations—with a simple dashboard, threat reports and live chat features to connect directly to a Malwarebytes agent to resolve issues in real time. Everyone is used to family plans for today’s digital services, and the Fam Bam adopts that paradigm for cybersecurity.
Impact: With the Fam Bam, you’re never really alone, and your whole family is protected from cyberthreats and harm.
Defender by Malwarebytes
Team 3: Eda Kutsal, Edwin Aristilde and Zanah Maggio
Insight: For many people, “cybersecurity” doesn’t resonate in the same way that “privacy” does. Privacy is more personal and real, whereas cybersecurity seems more impersonal and intangible. Talking about privacy and protection in your digital life is a way to immediately connect with people in a way that they inherently understand.
Idea: Defender by Malwarebytes will monitor and optimize the apps on your mobile device to minimize cyber risks. It will use personal privacy as a way to connect with people in a tangible and familiar way, help protect them and their loved ones from cyberattacks and allow users to see how their apps are using them.
Impact: With Defender by Malwarebytes, control is given back to the consumer, empowering them through intelligence and knowledge, exposing what their apps are actually doing in the background, and instilling confidence through information.
Congratulations to the XD Academy’s new faces of talent!
“I was so inspired by the ideas the Elephant XD Academy students came up with and honored that the Malwarebytes brand and mission played a central role in this important program to bring more diversity to creative professions,” said Dariusz Paczuski, chief marketing officer of Malwarebytes. “Congratulations to the XD Academy 2021 graduates!”
We started Elephant XD Academy with a single purpose: to help educate and provide opportunities for the next generation of diverse talent for our industry. Please join us in congratulating our 2021 graduates: Eda Kutsal, Edwin Aristilde, Evelyn Chat, Gabrielle Cashe, Janeil Dickens, Melisa Robles Olivar, Paul Flores-Clavel and Zanah Maggio.