Digital protection is more than security; it’s about helping people lead their best lives online
I joined Avast in April of 2020, at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Millions of people had to quickly adapt to a new reality where everything they normally did — like going to school, work or the doctor — was happening at home. People said they had never needed the internet more, and apps and services quickly became our lifeline — but, at the same time, people began to have a greater appreciation than ever before for threats to their privacy and personal data.
With this as a backdrop, and as the whole world tried to understand the impact of what was happening around us through the lens of the internet, we at Avast wanted to understand how people thought and felt about their online lives. We were interested in understanding the tension between the needs the internet meets and the challenges it presents for everyday digital citizens. We also wanted to understand what was holding people back from seeking online protection.
How could we help take the fear out of connecting online? How could we move away from simply being free from threats to being free to enjoy the experience wholeheartedly and realize our potential? How could we also equip and empower people to be more proactive in ensuring their own safety through the right education at the right time, and with the tools that fitted everyone’s unique online profile? And how could we contribute even more by fighting to shape a world in which everyone can attain digital freedom?
As a leading consumer digital security company, we felt we needed to do more to help our customers. To this end, today, we unveiled not only our new brand identity and new product offering, but we also renewed our commitment to the purpose that has always driven our business: protecting the safety and privacy of people online. We wanted to create a clear break with the traditional shield and castle visions of security; away from the stodgy, know-it-all approach to cybersecurity and toward a fresher, more human perspective.
So many security brands embrace an almost paternalistic viewpoint: “We are the only ones who can protect you!” But we want to not only protect, but enable and empower every digital citizen. Every one of us deserves free and open access to everything the digital world offers, and the most visible way we’re representing that is through our new logo, a symbol of that dynamism and potential.
The new logo is an orange circle, which represents the humanity, optimism, and protection we provide. Inside the circle are four incrementally growing elements that unfold, which symbolize how our job is never done but through standing for our commitment to innovation, exploration, and progress, we are constantly seeking to progress. We’ve also capitalized the “A” in our refreshed word mark, in order to represent our 30 years of experience. It’s a lot for one symbol to hold, but we hope that this new logo carries us into the future, while fully honoring our past.
Today, over 60% of the world — about 4.8 billion people — is online. But our relationship with the internet is fraught. Even when it feels seamless, many of us know that we take major risks when we go online. Identity theft. Ransomware. Surveillance, both public and private, of our every move. Sometimes it can feel more like a necessary evil than the place of connection and joy the original creators of the internet envisioned.
In order to get a deeper understanding of that human/internet interaction, we asked people to write a letter to the internet about how they felt that relationship was going. We were fascinated by how emotional their responses were, how important the internet is to their lives. It almost sounded like some of their closest human relationships, but the relationship was dotted with overshares, missteps, and betrayals. It turns out that we make so many compromises just to go online, but so often our only option to fully participate is to accept these intrusions.
So for our new ad, we created a character: the internet. He’s well-intentioned. He’s so likable. Everyone wants to hang out with him — he makes amazing introductions — but things have gotten a bit out of hand. With so many people online, he’s busy and his behavior has caused some problems. We want to reset our relationship with him to bring a bit more balance into the equation because it feels just a bit one-sided right now, and if he’s going to reform, we’re going to have to take matters into our own hands. We can hang out with him, but we should come to terms with the fact that we can’t fully rely on him to protect us.
Our aim is not to scare people, but rather use humor to explain the challenges in a way that cuts through. We deliberately created a setting that felt authentic and a dynamic we hope compels the viewer to listen, build empathy, and relate.
In the end, we want our ad to make cybersecurity challenges relatable and solvable. Most people are not experts in antivirus, VPNs, firewalls and Bitcoin — they often feel abstract, confusing, or boring. But that doesn't mean people don’t still have valid concerns about their online lives. This ad tries to speak to them.
Using humor, a relatable cast, and a common cause of trying to help mend the internet, we create a gentle yet powerful rallying cry that we hope shakes people up a little bit, but makes them feel good about taking control of their online lives.
The internet is changing — and our lives are changing with it. We recognize that digital protection is more than security; it’s safety, privacy, identity protection, performance, and more. We’re excited to embrace this new phase in our progress and to demonstrate to our customers today how we are committing to protecting them now and in the future to ensure a safer, better digital experience.