FAIL: ‘Hack is Wack’ Video Contest — Learn Social Media by Example

Social Media Campaign Stat Box

: Hack is Wack

: Products and services


: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blog

: Not a Clue

: Uninterntial absurdity

: 1 September 2010

: 1 month

Symantec is certainly a power house when it comes to anti-virus and security solutions and it is one of the top brands in the business but when it comes to its marketing initiatives let us just say that they are lackluster to say the least. Their latest surely has been born after an extended “brain storming session” between their marketing managers and hip-hop superstar, Snoop Dogg!

What is it about?

In this a very odd marriage, the contest aims at encouraging people to upload videos of them rapping and rhyming about hacking, identity theft and computer viruses to raise awareness about cybercrime.

The contest is centered around the website asking participants to upload their 2 minute anti-cybercrime raps for a chance to win a couple of tickets to his show, a chance to meet his management, and fully decked out Toshiba laptop.

What is Wack?

Now pinch yourself for you are not dreaming. The entire websites is decked to teeth with a faux gangster aura that really makes you questions the sanity of the people who green-lighted the project. The horrendous gangster-rap-album-of-the-90’s font featuring the wild-wild-west-wanted fonts used against a yellow background so bright that I wouldn’t advise you to view the website without your sunglasses is, simply put, a big middle finger to any self respecting designer.

All of that and I still didn’t mention the content of the website yet. How wonderful it is for the Symantec image to put its name on the gems that are contained on this website. The website offers tips about the topic at hand informing people about various cybercrime terms such as Malware, Drive-bys, and botnets and reminds people that cybercrime is real with this gem:

Symantec Gangsta

Just makes you wonder if it was a GTA obsessed intern that designed the entire thing. Symantec is posting the image of a loaded gun next to “pissed off” and “angry” in what seems like a metaphor that using Symantec antivirus software is akin to using a gun to silence and eliminate those who make who cheat you and make you angry. Is Symantec trying to appeal to new market segment; the gangsters?

Seems so, with entries such as “Blocka Blocka“, “Network Manipulation“, and “Mr. HackMan” the contestant deliver! Back in the day the biggest insult that can be hurled to a rapper is to be a called a “sell out” but given the number of videos on the websites it leads any Rap fan to come to the conclusion that the “game” got so water down nowadays that you can’t even call it Koolaide anymore.  Actually the entire experience in reminiscent of how I felt when I first heard Carl Rove rapping, I just hope the nightmares aren’t going to last as long.

The Buzz In Numbers

For Symantec’s sake I hope that this contest won’t create any buzz at all, but sadly it is not the case. Whether it’s the plethora of “WTF” blog posts that are sprouting on Social networking, Security and marketing blogs or the absurd videos being shared on Twitter and Facebook or the fact that Symantec hasn’t realized that someone just punked them and are not only marketing the contest on their Facebook but they are also getting Snoop Dogg to announce the competition on national television, this is like being naked on stage during your high-school talent show.

Viral for All the Wrong Reasons

Why did they do that?

I can’t fathom a reason of why they did this contest, or why Snoop Dogg a self professed pimp and gangster was chosen to speak against crime. Actually I can imagine the later could be a judge’s cruel idea of community service. Actually for once I’m speechless, usually I point out the mistakes or accolades of a campaign in this section but with this contest I’m absolutely stumped.

This contest is like a train wreck so bad that you can’t help yourself but be mesmerized by it, kind of like the movie “Army of Darkness“.  This just can’t be a serious campaign but if it isn’t its not absurd enough to be a satirical commentary on gangsters and rap culture. The more I try to think about the reason for its existence the more my brain hurts so I’m going to stop here and ask you for your opinion.

How can a marketing department approve such a campaign? What is your reaction to the whole thing? Are you going to ever look at the Symantec brand the same way again? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

: 1/5
: 4/5
: 1/5
: No
: 4/5

Comments and Reactions

4 responses to “FAIL: ‘Hack is Wack’ Video Contest — Learn Social Media by Example”

  1. Beiruta says:

    Well written overview of the campaign and its element. I enjoyed reading your opinion although I do disagree with one thing: I think Snoop Dogg is the prefect person for such a campaign only because he is able to influence the minds of teens and this time, positively!

  2. M.Bamieh says:

    hmm his influence only extends as far as his ghetto fabness does … and that's not much at all ;)

  3. Hankramer44 says:

    You should hear what else they've got cooking up over there at Symantec. The new Norton marketing team is run by a bunch celebrity-obsessed scientologists.

  4. M.Bamieh says:

    What would that be hanker … i'm curious now

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