Campaigns: Digital - Get Safe Online Week rings the changes

Campaign: Get Safe Online Week 2010
PR team: Edelman
Timescale: September-November 2010
Budget: £60,000, an internet security initiative, wanted to make sure its sixth annual awareness week made an impact. However, since its inception in 2005, the main offering - advice via the website - has remained the same, so the PR team had to find a way to re-energise and re-excite the media.


- To raise awareness of Get Safe Online Week

- To reinforce Get Safe Online's status as the internet authority on online security and fraud issues in the UK

- To drive traffic to the website.

Strategy and plan

Since Get Safe Online launched five years ago, the nature of online crime has changed. Whereas online fraud used to be about criminals taking advantage of consumers' inexperience, the latest scams involve tapping into greater awareness of measures such as installing anti-virus software. Increasingly behind these scams are sophisticated and organised operations, where criminals make millions of pounds. The PR team used these insights to shape the media strategy.

The team worked alongside an intelligence officer at the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, a partner of Get Safe Online, to put together a demonstration looking behind the scenes at malicious anti-virus operations. These are operations in which organised criminal gangs mislead online users into downloading anti-virus software that is actually malicious.

Exclusive media briefings were given to target media including the BBC, The Times and the Daily Mirror. The package included the demonstration from the intelligence officer, facts and figures about a recent law enforcement case, a consumer case study, research findings on awareness of the scam and interviews with experts.

A summit was held in London, attended by more than 100 members of the public, private and voluntary sectors, and featuring speakers from the Home Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the National Fraud Authority. A report was produced looking at internet security in the UK, and a consumer survey was carried out on attitudes towards and behaviour around web security.

Measurement and evaluation

The campaign generated blanket coverage across national TV and radio, including highlights on Sky News, BBC News, Daybreak, the Today programme, BBC Radio 2 and Radio 5 Live. In print, the story appeared in national publications including The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Sun, the Metro, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and The Independent. The campaign generated 22 regional radio interviews and coverage in trade press.


Action Fraud, a partner of Get Safe Online, received more than 200 calls in a week from consumers concerned they may be victims of anti-virus scams. Traffic to the Get Safe Online website tripled.


Louie St Claire, Director, Octopus Communications

The awareness week is an established and important event within the technology calendar. As such, it enjoys a strong profile. This year's activity was a really solid execution with all of the elements you would expect: consumer insight, case studies, expert opinion and a talking shop to discuss all of the issues.

The challenge for this campaign is two-fold. Firstly, online security threats for consumers have become much more sophisticated. As such, Get Safe Online has to cover an ever-increasing amount of 'threats', from online travel tips to identity theft, to online rip-offs. The result is that while awareness levels of threats remain high, consumers are not given a clear call to action on how to react to them. It would be good to see this campaign address that, maybe along the lines of 'the next time you switch on your computer do these things straight away'.

Secondly, for an awareness campaign based on web savvyness to stay safe, maybe a little more integration across digital channels would have helped support the superb offline results. The blog is good, but there seems to be little pull-through from Twitter or, more importantly, Facebook. More commitment to social media could potentially have moved this from a great awareness-raising activity into genuine consumer engagement.

The nature of digital means that audience segmentation is so much easier, which is especially important when you are dealing with different web proficiency levels.

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