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The Realm: Cisco Comic Book-Style Webisodes Bring Security to Life

March 5, 2009 - 12 Comments

What makes for interesting marketing in today’s web-focused, always-on world? Is it big media spend for placement? Or is it trying something different that gets word of mouth going through Facebook, Twitter, Digg, you name it? As a marketing vice president, I think we owe it to ourselves to break through barriers and try new technologies and media. One of my favorites that I’ve come across recently is Air New Zealand’s use of people’s bodies as billboards, as reported in the New York Times-it was certainly attention-getting and cost efficient.What I often hear about the best of web 2.0 is that it starts conversations, creates communities, and generates interesting discussions. And that’s why I’m excited about this week’s roll out of The Realm, our new security campaign that features animated versions of the good, the bad, and the ugly-as we see it play out on the Internet each day. Constructed as a webisode series, it offers a unique glimpse into how Cisco engineers and markets its products. And in developing the vignettes, we have come up with a new genre of animation – mixing a comic book medium with 2-D animation. We’re beginning to get some attention from bloggers such as’s Sean Michael Kerner and Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital blogger Kara Swisher. But we’re also interested to hear what customers and others have to say. What would you like to see in future webisodes? Check it out and let us know what you think.

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  1. Hi Tuong, thanks for your interest in The Realm. You can find the webisodes at

  2. The kingdom is first a great way for Cisco Security to educate and lead the initiative to think outside the box. It is fun and interesting spin on the Cisco Security, and it gets your attention really. It'sa great way to safety is the first in mind and also to help raise awareness about the risks in a single threat today. For those who use a cell phone, computer, phone, e-mail, any type of device where you information is at risk, security is a huge factor.

  3. Can you comment on the strategy of why comics are a good approach to getting IT managers more attuned to security threats?Also, why are all the comments on this blog from Cisco staff? Is this an internal wiki, marketing hype, or a blog?

  4. Who would have ever thought that Cisco would be associated with comic books? To me, this is a great example of creativity and innovative thinking. It’s no secret that the comic book genre has come a long way. One only needs to look at the film industry box office to see how this has really turned into a mainstream form of entertainment. Maybe a big screen adaptation of the Realm is in the works? :)

  5. hi Marie,It seems like you have the Realm comic (Grahic novels. However, I cant find it. Is it up on web?

  6. Navid, thanks for your comment. To answer your question about branding and future campaigns, Cisco focuses its brand efforts on what will make the most impact with our customers. In this case, we found that gaming and graphic novels were items that many of our security buyers enjoyed so we created a campaign to bring security to our customers in a fun and original way.

  7. Marie, in your blog I noticed you wrote something that stood out the most to me: The Realm truly shows he good, the bad, and the ugly."" I think that is why I like it so much. It is REAL! Cisco is not sugar coating the truth with this marketing campaign. It brings Security to life! Love it! Can't wait for the next episodes. I have a question though...Is Cisco planning on continuing this type of branding of products and solutions with the Realm characters for future campaigns? If so, I think it would be a great idea, seeing how X-Men II and X-Men III have been quite successful.Thanks"

  8. The Realm is first of all an excellent way for Cisco Security to build awareness and to lead the initiative in thinking outside the box. It is a fun and interesting spin on Cisco Security, and it really gets your attention. It’s a great way for security to become top of mind and also to help build awareness about the risks in today's unique threat environment. For everyone who uses a cell phone, home computer, laptop, email, any type of device where you information is at risk, security is a huge factor.

  9. What I often hear about the best of web 2.0 is that it starts conversations, creates communities, and generates interesting discussions."" Indeed, Marie. Some of my favorite examples are marketing videos that are creative, entertaining, and are geared specifically to their target audience. For example, the Bud Light Swear Jar Video ( ) is genuinely entertaining. It obviously hits the right demographic, and it works! According to Chuck Brymer, President of DDB Worldwide, ""the spot was viewed over 12 million times in just over a year and won and an Emmy, among other awards. Best of all, it kept people flocking to Bud Light as their beer of choice."" ( ) But Web 2.0 and social media appeal to more than beer drinkers. In fact, according to the excellent book, Groundswell ( ), written by Forrester Research analysts and a recent Forrester study, The Social Technographics of Business Buyers, 91% of the technology decision-makers are reading blogs, watching user generated video, and participating in other social media. And 69% of them said they were using this technology for business purposes. ( )It is with this in mind that we at Cisco are proud and excited to present The Realm ( ) to our audience, for market research shows that a lot of you enjoy comic books! We hope to provide you with high-quality entertainment as well as education about our products and solutions. Watch out for premier of Episode #2 on March 16 and look for us in New York Times Square starting April 1st . Come and meet live characters at the RSA Conference in San Francisco at the end of April. Most of all, tell us what you think and what you would like to see!"

  10. The Realm is a marketing campaign where superheroes battle some of the same internet threats we see each day in the real world. They do it heroically in a comic book medium developed with Mike Mayhew. The interest in Serious Games seems to go beyond the original intent and work that we have done for The Realm. Maybe there’s a future project there somewhere to take it to the next level and let security professionals battle evil in a simulated world. You can view the first Realm episode and check back for episode two the week of March 16 at If you still need to reach Cisco, you can find contact info for the Cisco Czech Republic office at

  11. Great campaign, and I look forward to webisode 2!Speaking of ew media"" did you hear about the guy who has offered his family and his home on ebay for corporate sponsorships?"

  12. The Realm sounds great. I am interested in the Subject Serious Games""Sounds great. I would love to learn more. I have been on Cisco web site in CZ and cant find a phone number or mail address.Best Regards,Rob carter"