McAfee's Documentary 'Reverse Migrates' to TV


The 48-minute video detailing how an Oregon woman named Jenella Spears lost $400,000 in an e-mail scam doesn’t look much like a commercial.

In fact, with its talking-head interviews and narrative of a former hacker, Chris Roberts, helping Spears recoup her loss, it feels more like an episode of 20/20 or Nightline.

But don’t be fooled, Stop H*Commerce: The Business of Hacking You, as the video is known, is a slickly made commercial for security software maker McAfee. It was created by Tribal DDB in San Francisco, and though it wasn’t designed for TV, it will be heading there this week as NBC affiliates in New York, San Francisco, Washington and Dallas pick it up. In addition, Hulu has put the video on its documentary channel.

That wasn’t the original plan. When McAfee launched the program (which the company is loath to call an “infomercial”) back in May, the idea was to draw attention to so-called Hacker Commerce, described as the dark side of e-commerce. The company at the time launched billboards and online ads promoting the suite of seven-minute videos as an attempt to own the H*Commerce space. McAfee also wanted to break out of what Geoff Gougion, managing director at Tribal DDB, calls a “sea of sameness” in the category’s messaging. That and an optimism bias—consumers tended to think that this wouldn’t happen to them—prompted McAfee to embrace the documentary format.

“We needed to make the problem and the threat more real,” Gougion said. “We thought we could do that through the form of a documentary.”

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