Building the Island of Hackable Toys

How Response Brought Festive Fun to Digital Security for McAfee

Once again, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Spirits are bright, gifts are wrapped with care, and brands everywhere are trying to get on customers’ “nice” list with memorable holiday experiences. For McAfee, a world leader in digital security software and solutions, this meant tapping into a Christmas classic to create a one-of-a-kind holiday destination for year-round digital protection.

McAfee’s mission is to keep people safe while online, across all their devices. Of course, in today’s world these devices can include everything from a laptop or PC, to a digitally-connected refrigerator or drone. There’s also the added layer of the increasing number of ways people use their devices. It seems everywhere you go offers free Wi-Fi, people shop freely from their mobile devices, and some even use apps to record TV shows or set their home’s thermostat.

McAfee’s Holiday Challenge

Owing to this expanding world of devices and their uses, McAfee challenged us to create a holiday experience that could educate, inform, and entertain those who will be giving or receiving a digitally-connected device this holiday.

The Solution

While brainstorming, the team kept coming back to holiday classics we all enjoyed as children. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a particular favorite, and we soon began toying with the idea of turning the Island of Misfit Toys into the Island of Hackable Toys. Not only did we feel this was a perfect way to connect McAfee to the season, we also felt the island itself would be a functional device for giving each gift its own personal space.

With the idea in hand, we began creating the interactive microsite that would house the Island of Hackable Toys. The island features four product-specific sub-pages (Laptops & PCs, Mobile Devices, Connected Home Devices, and Drones), as well as a sweepstakes page.


Within each product page we created a holiday poem to add to the atmosphere of the experience. These poems are delivered by “Elfee”, the happy McAfee holiday elf. Each product page also includes three tips with built-in social sharing links. We were determined to make each element as shareable as possible, and our one-click sharing function does just that. The product pages also include fun little animations and holiday-parody videos referencing the product (things like “We Wish You a Merry Smartphone” and “Deck Your Home with New Computers”).

The Grand Prize

Social sharing is a huge component of all we do, and as such, we’re always looking for ways to incentivize participation from fans. For the Island of Hackable Toys, we decided to include a sweepstakes element with the grand prize of a trip for two to Iceland! This married up to the concept and gave us the ability to increase our social shares. When a user enters, they are given a unique link to share on their social accounts, blogs, whatever. For everyone who signs up using this unique link, the person will earn additional entries into the sweepstakes. There’s no limit to how many entries can be earned, so it’s a great way to incentivize sharing and participation.


Integrated Marketing Plan

With so many built-in social components, we decided to make Facebook and Twitter a large part of our paid digital media. We built ads that focused on the campaign in general, as well as the sweepstakes and the specific product pages. We also worked with influencers to help spread the message of both McAfee and the Island of Hackable Toys. This influencer network gives us the chance to reach an audience that is potentially more engaged with digital toys and devices, and willing to participate based on the word of this trusted source.


A Very Merry Start

In just the first week of the program, we have already received over 3,000 entrants into the Island of Hackable Toys Sweepstakes, with more pouring in by the hour. This hot start is the product of many hours of work from almost every single person within the agency. Creating a fully integrated experience such as this relied on a total team effort and keen eye towards the overall experience. Our team did an exceptional job of considering everything from navigation to personality. Little touches here and there elevate the fun, and the sweepstakes entry component makes entering as simple as inputting your email address.

We’re incredibly proud of this work and how it has been received so far. We hope you enjoy as well! Have a happy holiday and if you want to make it even happier, we hear there’s a place you can win a trip to Iceland!