Re:scam
by DDB New Zealand

Challenge

The challenge we were facing with Netsafe was a multibillion dollar criminal industry, that has been quietly growing for too long. We knew the best solution would be one that could fight scamming in a way that was effective on a large scale, and captured the attention and imagination of people everywhere. Although Netsafe is a nonprofit based in Auckland, phishing scamming is a global issue, so our solution needed to be global as well. Because there is a common feeling of shame amongst scam victims, scamming crimes are not reported or discussed nearly as much as they should be. On top of this, internet security is a topic that people typically find quite dull and unengaging. We needed to come up with something effective, entertaining and educational on a small budget.

Idea

Phishing scams are always evolving and take on many different forms, but they are all based around sending massive amounts of emails, until they get responses. The crime arrives as an email, we believed our solution could too. We wondered if we could dramatically increase a scammer’s hit rate so they would spend more time on fake leads than real ones. So we set about building an army of ‘victims’.

Results

This was a massive undertaking. We researched, designed, built and tested the entire system in-house before launch. It was vital that Re:scam was unrecognisable as a bot, so we developed it to have a growing vocabulary and multiple human personas with which to engage scammers. As more scam emails came in, new responses were added to follow conversations about new scams and topics. To give Re:scam a visual identity, we created the morphing Re:scam face and used text to speech software. This made every element of Re:scam from the email writing, aesthetic and audio computer generated. To protect our staff and systems we kept the project entirely confidential and didn’t divulge the agency’s link to the project until months after we launched. Without a large budget for media push we were depending on Re:scam’s effectiveness and entertainment value to get earned media through all the right channels. Within days Re:scam had made its way to the front of Reddit and had started a global conversation about scammers and the chatbot that was scamming them.

Awards

Cannes Lions 2018

1x Siver
1x Bronze
5x Shortlist

D&AD 2018

1x Yellow
1x Graphite
2x Wood

One Show 2018

2x Gold
2x Silver
1x Merit

Webbys 2018

2x Shortlist

Kunde

Netsafe

Media

Online
Social Media

Berlin

Berlin

DDB Berlin GmbH
Friedrichstraße 200
10117 Berlin

T: +49 30 240 84 0
E: berlin@de.ddb.com

Hamburg

Hamburg

DDB Hamburg GmbH
Willy-Brandt-Straße 55
20457 Hamburg

T: +49 40 328 08 0
E: hamburg@de.ddb.com

Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf

DDB Düsseldorf GmbH
Breite Straße 67–69
40213 Düsseldorf

T: +49 211 6013 3000
E: duesseldorf@de.ddb.com

Peter Ampe

Wolfsburg

DDB Wolfsburg
Heinrich-Nordhoff-Straße 51
38440 Wolfsburg

T: +49 5361 27 94 0
E: wolfsburg@de.ddb.com