Theater of the Status Update: Norton Stages a Facebook First

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A 24-hour theater production has just wrapped — on Facebook, of all places. Stuff Theatre, a digital branded experience strictly for Facebook, was a first of its kind live, global event where performers took over Facebook for 24 hours straight. The curtain went up at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and wrapped 24 hours later.

The brand behind the stunt: Norton Securities, owned by Symantec, whose mission in life is to grab people’s attention to what’s happening online. Consider Stuff Theatre a mini-marathon of branded entertainment, a sponsored social campaign that can’t be zapped (like TV commercials) and offers fresh original content in a space where consumers are likely to pay attention.[more]

The name, by the way, ties into the brand’s current “Protect Your Stuff With Norton” campaign. The FB performances included an operatic rendering of a chicken pot pie craving (above) or a puppet calling for Haley.

The idea was created by Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide in Chicago, both part of the Publicis Groupe; the actors are part of the Copernicus Theater in Chicago; and the overarching conceit is that Norton protects your “stuff” online.

The strategy was simple: “use a bit of humor and personal experience” to “get attention and be relevant,” said Sally Jenkins, VP worldwide consumer marketing for the consumer business unit at Symantec, to the New York Times.

The ragtag troupe of Norton-paid performers certainly brought to life the “stuff” on users’ page, performed and broadcast via Norton’s Facebook page — but it also came off as a little random (and dare we say, desperate for attention).

No knock on the performers for their efforts, including improv comedians, musicians, puppeteers, slam poets, speed talkers, opera singers, graffiti artists, mimes, caricature artists and speed painters, who rendered an estimated 1,000 Facebook posts in real time.

It’s an attempt to “put your social-media stuff on a pedestal and treat it with the importance it deserves, even if it’s as mundane as a Facebook update,” Jon Wyville, EVP and executive creative director at Burnett, told the New York Times. Still, the connection between “social stuff” and protecting your social “stuff” may have been lost on Facebookers. We’d be curious to see how they measure the ROI on this effort.

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