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Precision-Engineering Cisco’s Cybersecurity Dance Ad


Dennis Lim, Cisco’s global creative director, and Jérôme Galinha, BETC executive creative director, show us through the steps in the choreography of the tech brand’s latest spot

Precision-Engineering Cisco’s Cybersecurity Dance Ad
You probably didn’t expect a tech brand’s cybersecurity ad to be a bold work of dance performance. That’s why 'Secure Freeze' from French agency BETC is so attention grabbing. Using elegant choreography to show how Cisco’s cybersecurity solutions empower IT managers to respond in an instant, the campaign serves as a clear metaphor.
It’s the kind of advertising that demonstrates a strong bond between client and creative agency. To understand that relationship more, LBB’s Alex Reeves spoke to Dennis Lim, Cisco’s global creative director, and Jérôme Galinha, BETC executive creative director.

LBB> It's clear that stressing the speed of Cisco's tech was key here. How did that come into focus first as the area the campaign would push? 

Dennis> As opposed to just the speed of Cisco’s technology, the focus of the story is the partnership between IT decision makers and Cisco to make business more resilient and secure. Cisco’s goal for the campaign was to firmly establish our position as a security leader. 

Jérôme> In our initial discussions, Cisco explained that their cybersecurity solutions could identify and fix cyber threats in a few hours when it would normally take months to have them fixed. That number blew us away! We wanted to show this speed and, even more, fluidity. Cisco’s solutions are so efficient and fluid that they’re invisible. 

Our biggest challenge was to get this across: how to represent the efficiency of something invisible?

LBB> What were some of the most important decisions early in the conversations between Cisco and BETC? 

Dennis> Cisco and BETC worked together closely, and the trust in our relationship and ability to drive flawless execution played a big part in this campaign. This enabled us to quickly strategise on the idea, then move into execution. 

Jérôme> Cybersecurity has turned into a social and cultural phenomenon in media and pop culture. People are exposed to hacking in many TV shows. In businesses, the cybersecurity issue has left the IT room to enter the boardroom. With this in mind, we wanted the campaign to address decision makers and not only the IT crowd. Additionally, it was essential for us to show that businesses have an ever-expanding attack surface because of their interconnections and the rise of hybrid work. However, we wanted to convey a positive message, as opposed to a large number of cybersecurity players who bank on a ‘doom and gloom’ atmosphere in their communication. Indeed, a cyber-attack is nowadays unavoidable but thanks to Cisco, solutions exist to counter it and move forward. 

LBB> How did the creative idea evolve from there? 

Dennis> Close collaboration between both the Cisco and BETC teams was critical. Messaging started specific to Cisco’s security solutions. Working together, we were able to ruthlessly simplify, evolving our heroine into a metaphor for our security solutions as opposed to describing them at length. This allowed for succinct messaging at the end of the film, and for an original piece of music to drive the action forward. When we brought on BETC’s director, Thierry Poiraud, his treatment knocked it out of the park, and we knew we were creating something special. 

Jérôme> We had in mind the idea of a journey with multiple incidents – cybersecurity threats – but with a positive treatment. We didn't want a superhero. Rather, we wanted a down-to-earth and relatable hero. That's why we set up this cool and confident woman who helps stop the breach, restores order, saves the day and enjoys a little fun along the way.

LBB> What inspired the focus on Cisco's audio brand language? 

Dennis> By 2025, 75% of Cisco’s workforce and potential buyers will be millennials and gen z. With this group, there’s a heavy emphasis on audio as a distinct brand language..Knowing this, we knew the music needed to flow in a way that felt modern, global, and fast paced – much like our world today. 

LBB> And how did that aspect evolve into what we hear in the campaign? 

Dennis> Great music drives relevancy. BETC took this strategy and ran with it. We loved the very first piece of music they created, and never looked back. 

LBB> What were the biggest challenges overall in getting this campaign together and how did you overcome them? 

Dennis> Our business is always evolving. Keeping up with this rapid speed of change, while also staying true to an idea, is challenging and requires consistent collaboration. We can’t be precious. We need to always welcome new ideas. During this rapid change, BETC remained flexible and collaborative – always moving the thinking forward and adding unexpected creativity. 

Jérôme> Our challenge was to represent cybersecurity issues, which are extremely numerous, technical and complex, in a short film without forgetting the entertainment and fun aspect that we wanted to offer the public. We had a lot of discussions about the actions of our main character: we wanted them to be precise and easy to understand at the same time. At the end of the journey, I think the film really stands out from the crowd.

LBB> Are there any details that you particularly love in the finished piece? 

Dennis> The effects Thierry shot in camera are stunning. The music stays with you. And our heroine is calm, cool, and unfazed by chaos. She is a representation of Cisco’s commitment to an inclusive future. The copy and animation at the end of the film brings together other campaign elements and opens the work up to all mediums. 

Jérôme> This film is all about details: the stopped gestures, the facial expressions, the dishevelled hairstyles, the clothes that give the impression of movement and the accessories like the spilt orange juice at the beginning. It is a work of precision.

And, of course, the cat. Definitely an up-and-coming actor.


Agency / Creative
Music / Sound
Post Production / VFX
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BETC Paris, Wed, 18 Jan 2023 14:44:26 GMT