Gold Spike

Case Film

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CategoryC07. Use of Technology
Additional Company NETSAFE Auckland, NEW ZEALAND

The Campaign

Re:scam is an AI chatbot designed to do the one thing you shouldn’t: reply to scams. When you forward any suspicious emails to Re:scam, it identifies scam emails and then begins a never-ending conversation with the scammer so they waste their time talking to a chatbot instead of real targets. Re:scam uses IBM Watson to analyse emails and add to its ever growing vocabulary. With multiple personalities and the ability to generate false account information (including credit card numbers, bank account information and postal addresses) there's no way for scammers to know they're talking to computer. Users can check up on and share the conversations they initiate, fuelling an important global conversation. This constant flow of emails from scammers provides entertaining content but also up to the minute data on trending scams. Re:scam is using this to educate people through social media, and shares all scammer information with cybercrime agencies.


The success of Re:scam hinged entirely on securing earned media coverage to drive users to the site and spark conversation about email phishing. To validate the idea and give credibility to the campaign, it was essential to secure a strong userbase from day one. To launch, we offered an exclusive to The Project to interview Netsafe’s CEO about how Re:scam works and how Kiwis can avoid becoming victims of email phishing. In the 12 hours following, Re:scam received 3,600 forwarded emails and more than 18,000 unique browser views. Following this, using updated data on engagement with Re:scam, we secured coverage in all major publications across NZ. Once we had critical mass, we pitched and secured coverage globally in the likes of The BBC and Mashable. What started as a campaign to educate Kiwis about email phishing sparked a global conversation reaching more than 270 million people in just 4 weeks.

Tier 1: Goal: Reach Kiwis through media, achieving 1.5 million reach (At least 1 x TV, 2 x radio, 5 x metro/regional newspaper, 5 online + verticals) - Achieved: reach of more than 4 million in NZ media, across all major networks Goal: Reach more than 10 million people through global media coverage - Achieved: global media reach in excess of 279 million - Featured by BBC, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, The Verge, BoingBoing, Mashable, Engadget, Wired and many more Goal: Make people aware of Re:scam, driving to site, exceeding 30,000 unique browsers - Achieved: 273,000 unique browsers visited Re:scam site. Vast majority of traffic driven by earned media traffic Tier 3: Goal: Raise awareness of Netsafe and its work in cyber-security both in NZ and internationally: 95% of coverage naming Netsafe with 2+ key messages - Achieved: 100% name and message inclusion in coverage Goal: Raise awareness of email phishing: greater than 100,000 views of Re:scam promo video Achieved: Over 4,500,000 views Goal: Engagement with Re:scam: more than 20,000 emails forwrded to Re:scam - Achieved: A staggering 750,000 forwarded emails in just two months Other significant results: - Over 1 million emails sent to scammers, wasting 5+ years of their time - Re:scam has been able to identify and intercept victims of scams, with Netsafe personally following up and offering advice - The data being collected on trending scams, scammer’s techniques and IP addresses is being provided to global cyber-crime agencies.

The Situation

THIS SUB-CATEGORY HAS A DIFFERENT VIDEO Email scamming has become a $12 billion industry affecting millions of people every year, but it goes largely unreported. Also, phishing scammers are difficult to prosecute, and victims often have no means of receiving justice or compensation. Netsafe, a non-profit cyber-safety organisation, needed to find a way of fighting scammers, while also educating people and starting a conversation about what to look out for. To do this, we created an idea and executed a strategy specifically designed to pass the water-cooler test and create mass awareness via earned media.

The Strategy

We identified the following key targets, which informed our choice of media: Elderly/computer-uneducated, Youth, Local businesses, IT managers Channels to reach: Local news media across print/radio/television/online/verticals (e.g tech, trade), Global news and tech media Our strategy was to firstly establish the credibility of Re:scam via a high reaching broadcast exclusive, driving the engagement needed to provide the proof points supporting subsequent waves of coverage. Relying then on stats and content generated by the first wave of users, we pitched to national media and, once at sufficient scale, global media. To make storytelling easier, the site itself became the ultimate interactive media kit – the Re:scam avatar talked users through what Re:scam does and why it exists. Hilarious conversations were hosted on-site which cropped up as embedded images on news stories around the world, and a thorough FAQ section ensured time-poor journalists had everything needed to file a comprehensive story quickly.


Name Company Position
Damon Stapleton DDB Group New Zealand Chief Creative Officer
Shane Bradnick DDB Group New Zealand Executive Creative Director
Brett Colliver DDB Group New Zealand Creative Director
Mike Felix DDB Group New Zealand Creative Director
Josep Jover DDB Group New Zealand Art Director
Jacob Newton DDB Group New Zealand Copywriter
Jenny Travers DDB Group New Zealand Senior Business Director
Michael Doolan DDB Group New Zealand Business Manager
Liz Knox DDB Group New Zealand Digital Director
Haydn Kerr DDB Group New Zealand Digital Creative Director
Johannes Gertz DDB Group New Zealand Executive Digital Director
Jason Vertongen DDB Group New Zealand Head of Digital Design
Simon Betton DDB Group New Zealand Lead Developer
Paul Hutcheon DDB Group New Zealand Lead Front End Developer
Mike McMillan DDB Group New Zealand Front End Developer
Judy Thompson DDB Group New Zealand Agency Executive Producer
Alva Waldron DDB Group New Zealand Agency Producer
Mark Trethewey DDB Group New Zealand Editor
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