Web security and privacy is now part of our culture. Witness everything from data breaches at Under Armour and Marriott, to privacy issues everywhere from Cambridge Analytica to Superhuman to FaceApp.
Now, Lenovo is using one of the most infamous corporate data breaches of the last decade to hype its own security products.
The Fallout: A Real-World Cybersecurity Story is a three-part short documentary series about the 2014 Sony hack that, among other things, resulted in embarrassing emails and film scripts being made public and ultimately led to the resignation of then-head of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal. Hosted by Olivia Munn—herself the subject of a reported phone hack and faked nude pics back in 2012—the series talks to former Sony employees about what it was like on the inside, and to other security specialists for their perspective and outlook into how cyberwarfare and online security issues are evolving.
Created by L.A.-based creative shop The Woo, it’s a compelling look at a topic that still needs as much public awareness as it can get.
The Fallout is not the first branded effort to add some gloss and a big name to bring attention to an issue that, despite its importance, has historically caused too many people’s eyes to glaze over. The first two that come to mind are Netscout’s 2016 feature doc, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, directed by Werner Herzog, and HP’s ongoing series starring Christian Slater, called The Wolf, which launched in 2017.
In fact, The Wolf helped Lenovo figure out its approach here. The Woo executive creative director Valerie Moizel told The Drum that while focus groups loved the high production values and Hollywood star, they also wanted more real-life security experts to tell them how to better protect themselves.
What we also have here is one company essentially creating branded content out of another company’s scandal. Sony is one of the main characters here but has no official presence. It may seem a bit odd, but given the Hollywood aftershocks around the Sony hack, which also essentially buried the Seth Rogen and James Franco film The Interview, it became the pop-cultural touchstone for internet security. Sony has not responded to a request for comment, but I’ll update the story should the company reply.
Considering the number of name-brand data breaches and privacy issues since then, Lenovo would have plenty of fodder for future sequels.