Hackable? An Original Podcast from McAfee (Launch)

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We have been working with McAfee for over a decade. In all these years, the one constant has been the challenge of engaging consumers in a conversation about digital security. They just don't want to think about it. And, for most, it doesn't enter their mind until there's a problem... like they get a virus or their identity is stolen. Yet we know that the best line of defense in preventing security issues is education.

While noodling over this persistent challenge, and listening to highly rated podcasts like "Serial," we thought doing a consumer podcast was our chance to intimately connect McAfee to their audience by entertaining and educating them using a relatively new and uncluttered medium. They did not ask us to develop a podcast for them, we proactively went to them with this idea. 

Our goals from the start were:

1. Heighten McAfee's leadership position in cyber-security

2. Enhance positive feelings about the McAfee brand to influence customer loyalty and NPS

3. Make complex cyber-security issues accessible and entertaining, while providing clear information and education

4. Leave the audience smarter than when they arrived

The Concept:

We set out to create audio storytelling that would be entertaining, educational and brand building. We partnered with Pacific Content for production, given their experience and expertise in painting the most vivid stories in audio. Together, we developed the show format: Pop culture (take a scene from tv, movies or the news about a security hack or breach and recreate it in a dramatic audio format) + MythBusters (put that same hack in pop culture and test it with real hackers to separate fact from fiction and ultimately figure out how nervous we should really be) + consumer security advocacy (supply tips to keep people educated and safe). We named the show, "Hackable?". The "?" at the end is intentional, as we are posing the question as to whether something is hackable or not.

This trailer for the podcast builds the intrigue and asks the question "How worried should we really be?"

The Launch:

We knew that it would be a massive uphill battle to try and get non-podcast listeners to become podcast listeners with Hackable? So, we focused our efforts on "fishing where the fish are." We built a 360 marketing plan with a heavy emphasis on in-podcast "advertising" and social media. In-podcast advertising was critical to our success. It's less like advertising and more like authentic endorsements from the host. We partnered with Reply All, Sincerely X, Science Magazine, Found, StoryWorthy, Something You Should Know and SpyCast. On social, we specifically targeted people who identified an interest in podcasting in general or in specific podcasts. We also leveraged McAfee's owned and internal channels. 

Our very first episode, "The Evil Twin", launched on July 18, 2017.  Season 1 consisted of 10 episodes that were released every other week, ending with "All Dolled Up" about smart toys on December 5, 2017... just in time for the holidays. 


  • McAfee NPS has been trending upwards since the launch of Hackable?
  • The majority of listeners (65%), even those who never used a McAfee product, were left with a higher opinion of the McAfee brand after listening
  • 77% of respondents said they "liked" or "loved" the podcast after listening to it
  • 88% of respondents said they learned something new from the podcast after listening to it
  • Hackable is in the top 1% of all podcasts every produced with millions of downloads across 30 episodes and 100k+ subscribers
  • 5-star rated on Apple Podcasts
  • Topped Apple Podcast U.S. charts: #1 Tech News Podcast, #3 Technology Podcast, #42 Podcast (Overall)
  • The show was picked up by SiriusXM Insights

Brand Manager: Felicia Bersano

Brand: McAfee

Director, Marketing and Communications: Sarah Grayson

Production Company

Executive Producer: Chris Boyce

Director: Geoff Siskind

Producer: Pedro Mendes

Production Company: Pacific Content

Creative Agency

Creative Agency: Response

Art Director: Tanya Kanner

Producer: Chris Rollins

Chief Creative Officer: Steve Badowski

Strategist: Carolyn Walker

Creative Director: Matt Durand

Copywriter: Jason Rose

Planner: Julia Nuara

Genres: Storytelling

Categories: Computers, Consumer Electronics

Response Marketing, 1 year ago