In the big, bad online world, one cannot afford to ignore the threats posed by the ever-widening reach of cyber crime. That is where the security solution providers of the world come into play, with their anti-virus, pop-up blocking and spam filtering products.
K7 Computing, an 18-year old Indian information security company, is advertising its product for the first time, using a similar insight. The company -- which has partnered with Sourcenext, a Japanese software publishing company - has already garnered large visibility in the home PC segment in Japan, with a subscription base of 10 million users.
"Homes are increasingly opting for multiple computers. The driver is the internet. However, awareness of security is shockingly low even among the younger generation. Security is not an option. It is a must. There is no choice," John Devasahayam, executive director, K7 Computing tells afaqs!.
The first ad, set in an office, shows a woman carrying out an online transaction, when another figure, representing a cyber criminal, says that her credit card has been hacked into. The second commercial shows an old couple expecting their son to send money to them, when the criminal figure says that the money will never reach them, because their account details have been compromised.
The third TVC shows a man and his wife in a car in the parking lot; the man says that he needs to get back home and check his e-mail. The criminal figure informs him that his e-mail has been hacked into, and he risks losing all the data on his computer. The final TVC features a young woman surfing the Net. This time, a perverted criminal tells her that her personal details, including her pictures, will soon be splashed across the internet on adult websites.
Each commercial ends with the message that a cyber criminal would never warn you in advance; hence, it is better to be prepared by installing K7 TotalSecurity 10.
The creative team behind the commercials at Public Ambience includes national creative directors, Prasanna Sankhe and Ashish Khazanchi, and creative directors, Akash Das and Vivek Rao. Rao has also written the copy for the ads. The commercials have been directed by Razneesh Ghai of ViaUS Productions.
The brief to the agency was to awaken Indian consumers to the security threats posed by the internet, says Kaustav Das, executive vice-president, Publicis Ambience South.
"In the Indian cultural context there are NavRasas or Nine emotions, but in our Ad films we usually end up using only two (Shringar - love or Hasya - Laughter). When we set out to make these films we decided to show the ugly, demented, sadistic side of the cyber criminals which is Bibhatsa(ugly, grotesque) Rasa. By doing this we intended to strike fear into the heart of the viewers and also stand out in the clutter of all the bright and sunshine ads," says Sankhe.
"We felt that in a low-involvement category, merely talking about safety for your computer would not cut ice with potential consumers. We needed people to feel uncomfortable, watching and listening to their fears come alive. To shake off the inertia, the films were made in a stark and dark manner with the message being clear -- everybody is vulnerable and potential threats never warn you in advance," add Rao and Das.
Appealing to the individual user stems from the fact that more often than not, security companies are comfortable dealing with enterprises, and not personal computer users.
"With the home PC market exploding, the individual is soon going to be bigger than the corporate. In the IT industry, the individual customer has mostly got the short end of the stick. But the future lies in the individual consumer market," says Das.
Going forward, the company plans to use radio, outdoor and the digital medium extensively. The ads will be on air till the Indian Premier League begins, when the action will shift to radio and online. K7 also plans to get victims of cyber crime to speak of their experiences, says Devasahayam.
K7 has earmarked Rs 6 crore for the first phase of the campaign, which will last for around three-and-a-half months. It is learnt that the production cost for the four commercials was close to Rs 60 lakh.
A secure effort
Creative pundits laud the insight and are of the view that the agency has hit the right note with its 'warning' approach.
"Cyber criminals do not warn in advance. The idea is right and the execution is taut, which keeps the drama going at the right pace. The production values are great as well," he says.
Manoj Motiani, founder and chief creative officer, Thought Bubbles appreciates the simplicity in the films and thinks the film with the pervert is the pick of the lot.
"The films should work well for the average PC user to see how nasty a virus can get. The characters look as scary in the ads, since the setting is so eerie. The pervert has that straight-faced, sleazy look and unabashed creepiness," Motiani says.
In this rather new category of advertising, Jauhari says that he is eager to see what the brand is doing or will do in the digital space.
"The opportunity is great and the consumer needs education," he says.