Banfield says cheers to cyber security message

Whether it’s think pieces on the heretofore undiscovered brilliance of Frasier, millennials rediscovering Friends on Netflix, or planned reboots of ’80s shows like Alf and Designing Women, ’80s and ’90s sitcoms are having a bit of a moment right now.

That’s the basis of “Device Appreciation Time,” a new online campaign developed by Ottawa agency Banfield for the government agency Communications Security Establishment in support of Cyber Security Awareness Month.

The campaign debuted earlier this month with a launch spot that features a jaunty theme song and title sequence that conjure up memories of ’80s sitcoms, which longtime Canadian TV critic Bill Brioux once hilariously—and not entirely unreasonably—called the most “vomit-inducing” decade in the genre’s long history. The concept is further reinforced by the canned studio laughter and applause that were once a sitcom fixture.

The opening video introduces the show’s “cast” (phones, computers, wireless routers and smart speakers) with subsequent videos dedicated to each device and highlighting the importance of things like software updates and enabling multi-factor identification to ensure cyber security.

Canadians don’t always recognize the threats to their online security, which is particularly true at a time when there are so many other things to be concerned about, said Banfield creative director Craig Lobban.

Rather than rely on scare tactics, the creative approach was built around positioning cyber safe practices as a favour people can do for the things they spend the most time with these days—their devices. The campaign is aimed at two primary audiences: older Canadians who aren’t fully aware of steps they need to take to stay safe online, and digital natives who sometimes overestimate their knowledge of cyber security.

“Both the audience who watched them when they first aired and the Netflix generation who has recently discovered them for the first time have an appreciation for catchy theme songs, wholesome messages, and canned laughter,” said Lobban


Chris Powell