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11th Annual Shorty Awards Categories

See below for official categories. The regular entry deadline is February 7th, 2019.

The Shorty Awards honor the talented agencies, brands, and industry leaders behind the best and most innovative work on social media channels, campaigns, websites and applications.

From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

The Symantec Backup of Destiny

Finalist in B2B

About this entry

Presented with the challenge of creating a social experience for an audience inured to insincere marketing, we decided to raise the stakes and translate the classic "choose your own adventure" narrative style into a YouTube experience. And why stop there when we could add a bombastic summer blockbuster-style trailer and a living Twitter account for the protagonist?

The result was a close collaboration of creative, technical, production and media teams working to integrate quirky humor with the social and technological systems used by our audience. By collaborating with specialists at Google, we overcame technological limitations within YouTube and delivered experiences to mobile and desktop clients. The production team worked with a technical advisory team to produce environmental visual effects that communicated both product and narrative. The social and creative teams created a Twitter account for Dave, our protagonist, and supplied character guidelines that turned it from a charming nonessential into a self-perpetuating social asset.

The Backup of Destiny is the result of many minds moving in concert. Various disciplines worked in careful unison to create a cohesive, compelling experience that invites users to involve themselves in the narrative and discover the product in a new way.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

The Backup of Destiny is more than a video; it invites a famously truculent audience to involve themselves with the narrative. It's a carefully wrought campaign that integrates various disciplines to create a cohesive, compelling experience.

Symantec asked Godfrey Q to concept a social media engagement for the Backup Exec 2014 launch. We ideated and launched "Dave Healey and the Backup of Destiny," a quirky and hilarious interactive video experience that taps into the challenges and victories System Administrators (SysAdmins) face daily. Our quasi-heroic protagonist, Dave Healey, deals with real-world fears every SysAdmin faces, relying on humor and a manifested personality disorder.

Dave Healey and the Backup of Destiny leverages new technology and social media to create interactive experiences that uniquely reach our audience. Dave faces mostly believable backup and recovery scenarios that demonstrate the functionality of Backup Exec 2014.

Through a close collaboration of creative, technical, production and media teams, we worked to integrate quirky humor with the social and technological systems used by our audience. We started with the basis that the IT infrastructure of every thriving business relies on men and women who give up evenings and weekends to protect critical data. Dave Healey typifies this audience and is armed for the task with the performance, visibility and simplicity of Backup Exec 2014. But by allowing the user to change the course of the story, we illustrate the importance of Symantec solutions as a byproduct of an engaging narrative experience.

The Godfrey Q creative team went to great lengths to speak the language of Functional IT professionals. By working closely with product marketers and engineers, the team harnessed a deep understanding of the life and concerns of backup and systems administrators. We designed the world of Dave Healey around the fears and rewards of the job, even personifying the infamous paranoia of SysAdmins into an alter ego—simultaneously the protagonist's best friend and worst enemy.

We used YouTube Annotations to orchestrate the interactive elements in The Backup of Destiny. Users click one of two annotation buttons at the end of each scene to make a choice. If a user's choice brings Dave to a dead end, they have the opportunity to go back and proceed down a successful path. Victorious users help Dave successfully navigate critical data obstacles, learning en route the features that elevate Backup Exec 2014 above the competition.

To improve load times and SEO, we confined the entire experience to one video, with buttons linking to different time stamps. Our greatest obstacle was the discovery that YouTube Annotations do not yet work on mobile devices or tablets, which comprise 70% of YouTube traffic.

To create the ideal user experience across any platform, we used an intelligent URL to identify the device type and redirect users accordingly; a user on a mobile device would be driven to a responsive webpage with the trailer for the experience and a lead-capture form reminding them to experience The Backup of Destiny on desktop. Desktop users are driven to the full experience on YouTube, bypassing the mobile experience entirely.

It was a profound success: The campaign delivered over 29 million impressions and The Backup of Destiny videos over 459,000 views in little over 2 months. And while views are gratifying, engagement is the true prize. Audience engagement exceeded LinkedIn benchmarks by more than 90% and the Twitter campaign resulted in 24,000 engagements.

We created an interactive experience that overcomes the limitations of traditional passively received narratives. The Backup of Destiny doesn't speak to our audience—it speaks with our audience. From the collaborative storytelling to the integrated Twitter accounts, from the careful positioning of narrative and language to the novel ways we used technology to deliver our message, our mission was to engage our audience from as close and familiar place as possible. Our success has been because our audience identified the respect and appreciation we gave to their experiences.


Video for The Symantec Backup of Destiny

Produced by

Godfrey Q, Symantec, Aero Film, Spy Post, One Union Recording Studios


Entry Credits

About the Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media.

Millions of people participate in The Shortys to recognize individuals and organizations producing great content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, and the rest of the social web.

The Regular Entry Deadline is February 7th, 2019