McAfee brings attention to its product with celebrities

McAfee has had a long-running effort to expand its media coverage beyond technology publications and into mainstream lifestyle media.

McAfee has had a long-running effort to expand its media coverage beyond technology publications and into mainstream lifestyle media.

This September, it called upon Red Consultancy to work with its in-house PR team and devise a campaign that would appeal to the media's appetite for celebrity-driven news and garner it more attention, says Alice Chan, GM of Red's San Francisco office.

Strategy
“Using McAfee research, the PR team revealed how cyber criminals are using the names and images of celebrity A-listers,” says Michael Busselen, VP of corporate communications at McAfee. “Internet users are lured to fake Web sites that look legitimate, but contain malware embedded in screen savers and ringtones,”

By reaching out to lifestyle media, the company wanted to build awareness of its SiteAdvisor product.

Tactics

The team used McAfee software to rate how laden Web sites are with spyware and other malicious software.

It then ranked America's most talked-about celebrities and “for added news value... compared this year's results with last year's top 20 to show how Brad Pitt had overtaken Paris Hilton as the most dangerous celebrity to search for online,” Chan says. “Revealing this year's number one risky celebrity to be Brad Pitt, we timed the release of the story with his... movie Burn After Reading.”

Results
“This campaign is a great example of marrying popular culture with McAfee's knowledge... to raise the issue of potentially risky online behaviors in the minds of consumers,” Busselen says. US TV broadcast coverage reached more than 9.4 million viewers, with 57 airings across national and local stations and several celebrity blogs.

The effort also garnered coverage on E online, morning news shows, and other celebrity news shows.

Future
Red continues to work with McAfee as its AOR.

PR team: McAfee (Santa Clara, CA) and The Red Consultancy (San Francisco)

Campaign: Most Dangerous Celebrities

Duration: September 2008

Budget: $20,000

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