How much do you believe in what you are selling? Are you willing to be the first one to prove that your product works? Are you willing to be the first one in the group to jump off the bridge? Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock was.
In 2007, LifeLock did quite the bold PR stunt to promote their product. Using billboards all over the country and the company’s website, Todd David published his real Social Security number showing to everyone that he had 100% confidence that LifeLock system—that promises protection from identity theft—did really work. What better way to show your customers and target audience that your product works than having the CEO publicly show that he uses and trusts it? It would be great if their system had worked.
Later, Phoenix New Times reported that Todd Davis was hacked 13 times. As a result, he had over $4,000 unpaid charges with different companies all over the world. Besides of that, the company received a $12 million fine by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive advertisement.
Did Not Think Through Before the Jump
The PR team came up with a genuinely, honest and good idea. Having the most important person in the company to be the public face of their campaign is a great way to show confidence and attract people. The big problem was that they did make any plan to prevent identity theft besides of trusting their program. After the article was posted the even tried to minimize the damage by saying that there were 87 attempts, but only 13 succeed.
Hitting the Bottom
I must say, I did laugh a lot while I was reading about this PR stunt. It is a sad to see a PR stunt go so end so badly and a person has his identity stole 13 times, but it is very ironic. I believe if they have posted a fake social security number, or gotten a second one for Mr. David to use for this campaign only it would still have a good effect on people without putting his original social security number at risk. Even though they got a very good response, the moment that they found out that the got his identity stole 13 times the entire credibility of the company fell. They should have thought about this happening before launching the campaign and come up with ways to response to it, something that they did not do.