Internet Security Systems Debuts TV Ads

Internet Security Systems is taking the wraps off its first broadcast ad campaign in a bid to address business managers’ need for anti-hacker solutions.

The ads aim to highlight the Atlanta-based firm’s software and services, which protect businesses’ networks, servers and workstations from unauthorized intrusions, by focusing on the myriad threats faced by IT managers. Budgets were not disclosed in the effort, which the company would describe only in the “multi-million dollar” realm.

Each of three television spots depict, albeit whimsically, a serious corporate network security threat: disgruntled employees, prying hackers and outright electronic thieves. In “Payback,” for instance, a laid-off manager takes out his unhappiness over being terminated by “terminating” his former employer’s accounts receivable records for the previous two years.

The similarly-themed “Capitalistic Police” and “Own the Internet” spots continue the message. The ads were directed by music video and TV ad director Jake Scott, the son of Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott.

The campaign’s seven print executions borrow the same sort of shady characters found in the effort’s TV ads, while also focusing on specific markets. For example, one ad concentrates on clients in the public sector: “Hello, I am your subcontractor. I will enter your office by the front door. Or the back door that I leave behind.”

The company also said the campaign will contain interactive elements, including newsletter sponsorships and email marketing to opted-in recipients.

The ads, which were designed by Atlanta-based Bates Technology, a unit of Cordiant’s Bates Worldwide, all use variants of the company tagline: “Because there’s a different threat every day, you need more than firewalls and anti-virus. You need Internet Security Systems.”

“This is Internet Security System’s … most aggressive [campaign] to date,” said Tim McCormick, vice president of marketing at ISS. “We are very excited about building our brand and solidifying our leadership position in the industry. We’re extremely proud of the campaign and hope that its humor and empathy will raise awareness among corporate executives about the many online threats that their companies face on a daily basis.”

The spots will run on CNN, CNN Headline News, and MSNBC, with an exclusive sponsorship on the new “Homefront Security” segment of MSNBC’s weekday Abrams Report. Print executions will run in business and trade publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Computerworld and CIO Insight.

The ads come on the heels of similar moves by other IT giants to tout their strengths amid the country’s current heightened concern over security issues. Genuity, for instance, is promoting its network management services with ads that show hackers sneaking past careless defenses by posing as “vendors.”

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