Wharton Term 4

September 7, 2012

Credits Course ID Course Title
1.0 FNCE-726-701 Advanced Corp Finance
0.5 LGST-621-701 Govt/Legal Environment
0.5 MGMT-654-701 Competitive Strategy
0.5 MGMT-655-701 Global Strategic Mgmt
0.5 MGMT-801-701 Entrepreneurship
0.5 MGMT-811-701 Entrep Through Acquis.
0.5 MKTG-728-751 Contagious
1.5 MKTG-890-703 Advanced Study Project

Making Things Contagious

Overview:  LifeLock had an ad campaign in which its CEO was shown while a truck drove behind him showing his social security number.  This was a TV and billboard advertising campaign.  LifeLock also had a print advertisement campaign showing his social security number.  In all the advertisements the CEO guaranteed that identity theft was impossible if someone used LifeLock service.

Lifelock spent a lot of resources but the ad campaign was not contagious and there was limited impact to the net revenue.


In this paper I will analyze this advertisement campaign of LifeLock using the S.T.E.P.P.S. framework and recommend alternative.  I will also analyze the alternative using the S.T.E.P.P.S. framework.

Current Advertisement & S.T.E.P.P.S. Framework

Social Currency:  People who understand issues around security and identity theft talked about this advertisement, unfortunately the discussion were about a person who tells his social security number and not about the company.  Though this advertisement creates a certain amount of discussion – the overall amount of discussion was rather limited.  Knowing about the products did not make people stand out or look good during discussions; the TV and print media was flooded with this advertisement (and the service could be purchased of little cost) so there was no exclusivity or scarcity about the product or the advertisement.  On scale 1 to 5 where 1 is low and 5 is high; Social Currency would be rated 3.

Triggers: There were no triggers associated with this advertisement.  Acts such as writing the social security number, looking at the truck, etc did not trigger a thought about this product.  Main trigger the company needed was to remind people to buy the service if they were giving the social security number to someone, it clearly didn’t.  On scale 1 to 5 where 1 is low and 5 is high; triggers would be rated 1.

Emotion:  Target customers had no emotional connection with this this advertisement.  The advertisement did not have practical value nor did it invoke anger, anxiety, surprise, interest or any other emotional feeling.  A small subset of people – hackers and people involved in identity theft, looked at the advertisement and it generated tremendous interest in a community which was not target customers.  Soon after this advertisement, CEO’s social security number was used over 10 times in identity theft.  This advertisement triggered a wrong emotion in wrong set of people.  On scale 1 to 5 where 1 is low and 5 is high; emotion would be rated 2.

Public: No one knew if people around them were or weren’t customers of LifeLock.   The product was not publicly visible.  On scale 1 to 5 where 1 is low and 5 is high; public would be rated 1.

Practical Value: Sharing information about the advertisement or LifeLock provided no practical value (or incentive) to the customer for sharing the information.  On scale 1 to 5 where 1 is low and 5 is high; practical value would be rated 1.

Stories: There was no narrative/story conveyed in the advertisement, at best the advertisement was showing the general public that no one could use the social security number for illegal purposes and it challenged the hacker community.  On scale 1 to 5 where 1 is low and 5 is high; stories would be rated 1.

New Idea

The recommended advertisement campaign would contain the following:

  • Story line: person writing social security number on an application and that application is used for identity theft. The person is not LifeLock customer and loses all his savings due to identity theft –the person was dreaming and wakes up all worried (funny scene).  He checks his email and finds an alert from LifeLock about possible identity theft.
  • Emotion: the advertisement should end of happy note – showing the person was able to save
  • Advertisement focus: focus on the advertisement should be on a person filling personal information online.
  • Statistics: End by saying how many identity thefts occur daily.

Analysis of New Idea

Social Currency:  Basic statistics about identity thefts can be used in conversation.  But overall the new idea would have limited social currency.

Triggers:  LifeLocks registration is done online.  Best trigger will be when user needs to enter personal information on a web page on the internet.  When this trigger occurs the user will be in front of the computer and could register for the service right away.  This trigger will prove very effective and should help increase sales.  Triggers are important especially when they enable user action which can improve sales, a trigger when a user is filling a form online will be a very useful.

Emotion:  The current customer who has a nightmare about identity theft will be made funny moreover the story ends on a positive note.  Executed right this can be very interesting advertisement which can go viral.

Public:  Current using this product is not public.  Onetime discount should be given to customers who share their social website access rights using which LikeLock can share public updates within network of customers on a periodic basis.  LifeLock can send tips to protect self from identity theft on customers social networking sites.

Practical Value:  LifeLock should integrate with social sites and should give customers shirts, car stickers etc for help improve visibility of the product.  Moreover user should be given special discounts when they recommend friends or when someone registers for LifeLocks service after visiting the LifeLock website from friend’s announcement on social networking websites or through invitation email friend sent from the website.

Currently there is no practical benefit to the customers to share information with others – in new approach users will have practical (financial) benefit.  (its hard to gamefy this product)

Stories:  Story of a victim who has his identity stolen and the trouble he goes through is a great story/example showing identity theft.  Story is a critical part of the advertisement; users should be able to connect with the story and understand the potential issues with identity theft.

LifeLock can also have an ad campaign in which it has true stories.

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