Santa Succumbs to ‘Bah-Hum Bug’ in Grey S.F.’s Holiday Push for Norton

By Erik Oster 

Grey San Francisco launched a holiday campaign for Symantec’s Norton antivirus and security brand, emphasizing that everyone can get hacked with a look at Santa’s little problem with the “Bah-Hum Bug.”

Santa fists notices the problem while playing a computer game when he should be checking the naughty or nice list. When he switches off the game to open the list, the virus takes over, locking Santa out from his data. Santa realizes there’s only one person who can help: his son Kris. Kris soon finds that things are worse than they appear, however, as not only are they incapable of retrieving the list but it’s been leaked by the hackers, leading Santa to make a drastic decision. The first two ads in the series were released last week, with the initial entry generating over 300,000 views on YouTube, and the final installment was launched today (we’ve featured them in chronological order, so it’s the last video below). The campaign is running on sites including Gizmodo, Mashable and Lifehacker, with support from social media initiatives and native content. 

While not quite laugh out loud funny, the ads are surprisingly entertaining. They’re also notable for finding a middle ground between excessively sentimentality and the over the top cynicism of, say, Droga5’s recent effort for Coach (which, come to think of it, also featured some list tampering). The campaign also delivered on another front, with the production shot in one day at Rubel Castle in Southern California for under $600,000.

“We chose to focus on Santa, a friend to the world, to reinforce that anyone can get hacked,” Kathryn Kane, Norton’s senior director of global brand and campaigns, told AdFreak. “Online crime typically increases during the holiday season. More and more personal information is being stored online due to holiday shopping, so it is important that consumers understand why they should protect their devices.”