Radware brings back superhero in b-to-b push

Radware, a provider of application-delivery and application-security solutions, acquired Alteon application switch assets from Nortel in March 2009 and launched a new Alteon application delivery platform in November.

Client: Radware (Mahwah, NJ)
Agency: Ruder Finn (New York)
Campaign: “Alteon is Back”
Duration: November 9, 2009 – December 15, 2009
Budget: $200,000

Radware, a provider of application-delivery and application-security solutions, acquired Alteon application switch assets from Nortel in March 2009 and launched a new Alteon application delivery platform in November. AOR Ruder Finn helped develop the “Alteon is Back” campaign to engage IT professionals and show Radware's commitment to keeping and investing in Alteon.

“The product line hadn't been updated in five or six years,” says Joyce Anne Shulman, Radware's senior PR manager worldwide. “We wanted to communicate that we were committed to Alteon customers and revitalizing the brand.”

Strategy
To inform IT audiences about the updated Alteon product, the team revived and reintroduced a superhero character (named Alteon) that the company originally created in the late 1990s. The character was also updated and new vehicles were created for it. Chris Fallon, SVP in RF's consumer technology practice, explains that the character's appearance and powers personify the product's strength.

“B-to-b communications can be rather monotone,” Shulman acknowledges. “We wanted to be more creative to get to IT professionals.”

Media relations helped promote the launch. Fallon explains that pitches focused on business angles rather than the superhero.

“We went classical with media audiences because we didn't want to be perceived as kitschy,” she adds. “Press communication focused on the big picture for Radware and customers so they understood there was real commitment.”

Tactics
Vehicles for the superhero included a video created to look like a cinematic trailer and one episode in which Alteon fights “Bottleneck,” a character that blocks and slows application traffic. The videos are available on a dedicated Web site, as well as the corporate site, Radwarealteon.com, and YouTube.

The team also spread the word on Twitter and created a printed comic-book version of the episode.

One week prior to the November 9 launch, the team teased IT, business, telecom, and financial media targets in seven countries with the comic book cover. Business angles were pitched throughout the campaign and Radware executives conducted interviews. The comic book was sent to outlets as follow-up.

Results
Shulman reports overall Radware sales increased from $29.2 million in Q3 2009 to $32.1 million in Q4 2009. Year-end numbers increased from $94.6 million in 2008 to $108.9 million in 2009.

Radware.com visits in November 2009 increased 60% compared to November 2008. Traffic on Radwarealteon.com, launched when the acquisition was finalized on March 31, 2009, went up 123% from October to November 2009. Twitter followers rose from 182 prior to launch to 412 currently.

To date, the trailer has received 1,595 views and the episode 1,291 views on YouTube. Shulman notes that prior to this campaign, Radware's highest viewed YouTube video (“I'm an AppDirector”) received only 512 views.

The campaign generated 126 stories worldwide in outlets including thestreet.com, Network World, and CRN.com.

Future
Radware will continue working with RF to promote the Alteon brand through multiple channels.

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