EarthLink ‘CyberHeroes’ Squash Threats in New Campaign

EarthLink is promoting its ability to fight online threats via a microsite that portrays its employees as mock stars in a spoof action film called “CyberHeroes.” In the flick, the CyberHeroes fight against scams, viruses and spyware.

The use of comic book imagery, and a plot in which cyberheroes protect Web surfers, tie into the action-packed summer movie season. The campaign voices EarthLink’s commitment to fighting online intrusions in a way that’s meant to reach its core audience: families who use the Web.

“The campaign features three EarthLink employees as EarthLink CyberHeroes that are battling spam, viruses and spyware around the clock,” said Molly Tregembo, director of the marketing communications group at EarthLink.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CPB), which has worked with EarthLink for the past year and a half, worked on the creative for the microsite and associated ad campaign. Freestyle Interactive handled media buying for the online advertising.

Advertising will be tied into the summer movie season. In-theater posters will feature the EarthLink employees as action stars in an upcoming blockbuster, “CyberHeroes.” Online advertising carrying the same theme will include banner ads on Fandango, iFilm, Yahoo Movies, MSN Entertainment, Real Cities, TV Cities, and Ain’t it Cool.

“We had a limited budget so we wanted to be pretty specific in our target,” Rob Strasberg, vice president and creative director with Crispin Porter + Bogusky told ClickZ. “During the summer, a lot of people go to the movies and we wanted to get the most number of eyes on the campaign.”

The site, located at earthlinkcyberheroes.com, is loaded with Flash graphics. It introduces three EarthLink employees and their abilities; a game in which they fight oncoming virus attacks; a noise-activated screensaver that reacts to activity near the computer, provided the computer has a microphone; desktop themes and information on each of the company’s three Blocker products. A site promotion gives visitors the opportunity to “join the heroes in their quest to restore order to the World Wide Web.”

Crispin Porter outsourced building of the functioning aspects of the site to Studio Pyro, a firm that works on 3D modeling. Strasberg said the agency gave Studio Pyro direction for the look and sound of the site, and was happy with how the design team was able to execute the ideas.

The overall campaign is in keeping with EarthLink’s “You Decide” campaign. The Web hosting company cast three actual employees as cybercrime fighters; each one represents an EarthLink Blocker product. Stephanie “The Scam Slammer” is the face for ScamBlocker; Don “The Virus Vanquisher” represents Virus Blocker; Rashidi “The Identity Defender” fights for Spyware Blocker.

“There are real people working at EarthLink night-and-day to stop these problems,” said Strasberg. “They have the same problems on the Internet that everybody has. Just as in the real world, there are superheroes, the Internet should have superheroes, too.”

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