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Web Series for Trend Micro: 2030 Case Study

Engaging your audience with long-form fiction based on a tech white paper.


Months of planning, nine days of filming, and four months of post-production led to a web series of feature film length (90 minutes of video content divided into 9 episodes of 10 minutes each)!

So strap on and prepare for a web series branded video content case study. 😊

What the client needed

The project started as a lengthy white paper, “Project 2030—Scenarios for the Future of Cybersecurity,” by Dr. Victoria Baines and Rik Ferguson. It envisioned the world of 2030 and its societal, behavioral, and technological changes. 

The challenge was to turn this research into an asset, a kind of brand video, that would strengthen Trend Micro’s brand awareness and position as a thought leader and reach beyond its traditional audience (e.g., broader B2B audiences, industry experts, and media).

But a single, long-form branded video asset would be useless alone. There needed to be an ecosystem of shorter content, teasers, trailers, behind-the-scenes footage, photos, etc, for broader video marketing campaigns and PR campaigns.

So, naturally, Trend Micro turned to us.

The goal of Project 2030 was to create a thought-provoking, research-based predictions video series that serves as a “top of funnel” awareness asset... unique asset that will demonstrate our authority in research and reinforce our history of proven foresight.
Kim Peters, Director, Global Brand & Marcom, Trend Micro

What we did

One of the 2030 report’s distinct features was using the narratives - presenting the possible development of technologies in the next decade and the impact of resulting cyber threats from the perspectives of an individual citizen (a woman named Resila), a manufacturer (KoRLo Industries) and the state (a fictional city of New San Joban).

So, the first thing we did was take some of the main elements of the world presented in the report and start developing them into real-life people. Each has their backstories, wants, and needs.

As taught by Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, we decided to start with a bang: a massive malfunction of smart medical implants.

The main character of the brand video series is Julia, a former reporter and web journalist who starts her own investigation after realizing that Korlo, the manufacturer, and the authorities are inconsistent with their explanations.

Her search is fueled by a personal motive - the near loss of her father in the event - and is aided by Marcus, a former Korlo IT employee, and her brother Stephen, a detective of the NSJ police force, who, as it turns out is hiding a mind-blowing secret.

No, we won’t spoil it for you any further. You need to watch it yourself on   

The kick-off

What was unique and challenging about this project was that we needed to estimate the costs of the video content before the final script was developed.

Why? Well, because this was going to be a 10-month project, the client needed to know before the start how much funds they needed to secure for it.

We did this by counting the number of shots and scenes we could film within a single day. We analyzed the number of cast members, locations, etc., which led us to know how many days of shooting we needed per episode. The rest was simple math.

A key feature of the report was that it took place in a post-pandemic world where Covid hit differently and prompted a massive work-from-home revolution.

According to the report, people rarely leave their hoses for work or shopping. Essentials can be delivered or printed at home, and advanced virtual and augmented reality technology enables remote but seamless collaboration.

That was a lifesaver for the production as he could tell most of the story in just 2 or 3 locations :)

The development

This took the longest—close to five months. We worked closely with the client's creative team on brainstorming concepts, motifs, situations, and stories based on the report.

Creativity takes time to thrive. We practically scrapped one or two entire storylines, but after some time, we had a final outline of the plot and characters.

We started by designing the branded content from the widest possible perspective and slowly added details.

At that point, although the scripts had not been written yet, we could start location scouting and casting actors. We primarily searched for actors in Western Europe and invited some of our all-time favorites to join the project.

Our original plan anticipated creating 5 to 8 episodes of about 5 minutes each. Each episode would start with a 1-minute news/documentary/blog section that would present the current situation in New San Joban and continue with about 4 minutes of story filmed with actors on location. 

The news sections played a crucial role in the branded videos by showcasing how the world worked and the implications of our hero's actions.

Then, most of the episode would be taken up by the actual drama.

The production

Filming brand videos is one thing, and a feature film needs a different bag of tricks.

The passage of time is key. A location looks one way in the morning and differently in the afternoon, so you have to plan your shots around this.

Actor availability is always a concern. In a utopia, the actors are always available, but in reality, some have only a 2-day window to work on your project, and some have 4... and usually, those days don't match up.

So you have to film one part of a scene on day 1 and the second on day 4. Keeping track of everything on such a scale is a challenge. Fortunately, it's not our first rodeo ;)

We used Trello to organize the scenes easily into a shooting schedule.

Storyboarding on such a big project is essential as it unites the client, creative team, production, cast, and crew around a single piece of information. Everybody knows what we are doing. Most importantly, you can talk about that for weeks, finetuning all the elements.

And believe me, there are dozens of elements to fine-tune.

Have a look behind the scenes video

Before the launch

Creating such complex and (let's be honest) expensive branded video content on its own would be a waste of money. Placing all your hopes that a feature-length branded web series will go viral is... a little wishful thinking.

Even the biggest blockbusters need marketing.

So, in addition to creating the main content, we also produced numerous teasers, trailers, photos, banners, you name it, that Trend Micro then used in its PR and video marketing campaigns.

The unexpected parts

The unexpected part? Sometimes, good stories need time to tell them.

And it turned out that despite meticulous planning, to be able to tell the full story we created during the project development, we needed to make the episodes longer than originally anticipated—much longer, in fact.

We ended up with nine episodes, each 10 minutes long, equal to the length of an average feature film.

Fortunately, the story was on point, and the client loved it. 

Summary and results

So, how long did it take to develop such a complex project?

After a month of script development, the final shoot lasted nine days and was filmed at several locations in Poland and the US. It featured 11 actors and dozens of episodic cast members from 5 countries, and post-production lasted about four months. 

And what were the results?

• The branded video content gained 1.6 million views on YouTube

• The marketing website for the project - which we also developed - has recorded 67,000 unique page views 

• And the client was trilled and super happy.

Are those numbers impressive? Well, taking into consideration that the number of US CISOs, being the primary target audience of the campaign, is about 43,000, we would say so!

Black Rabbit are without peer in their ability to understand complex technical information and distill it into messages easily understood by our target audience.
Rik Ferguson, VP of Security Research, Trend Micro

We weren’t the only ones to think it was great, as the project landed a total of 12 awards in 2022, including:

  • The Grand Prix at the World Media Festival in Hamburg
  • Best Webseries and Best Cinematography awards at the Bilbao Seriesland 
  • Bronze award in the Branded Entertainment - Video Series category of Lovie Awards
  • Silver Dolphin - Webisodes at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards 
  • Award of Excellence: Special Mention (top 10, best of show) and Award of Excellence: Direction at the Accolade Global Film Competition
  • 5 Telly Awards: Silver - Online Craft - Writing, Silver - Branded Content Craft - Use of long-form Format, Bronze - Online Craft - Directing and Bronze - Online Craft - Cinematography, Bronze - Branded Content B2B

Some final “tricks of the trade”

So you might be wondering: How can you develop a video marketing strategy with long-form video content or branded entertainment content?

  1. It’s all about great storytelling, and emotions are at its heart. Yes, in B2B marketing, too. Business storytelling is number one. In fact, most B2B marketers wish that B2B content had the creativity of B2C advertising and find most of what’s out there just plain boring.
  2. Hyperfocus on your target audience. You must go beyond marketing personas and understand what they like (hence the choice of the blockbuster-thriller style for this project) and how they consume content.
  3. Mix know-how with entertainment. Create engaging content (brand videos, company culture videos, long-form video content, product demo videos, testimonial videos, and product demonstration videos) that will promote your brand, show your expertise, and demonstrate your ability to identify and solve problems and foresee future scenarios. But also keep the audience engaged in the story. Maintain an emotional connection with your target audience.
  4. Plan a marketing content ecosystem and distribute like crazy. Maximize your marketing efforts. You can create dozens of edits for various platforms to make it easily discoverable. In “Project: 2030,” the videos were shared on the marketing website, via emails, on YouTube (organic and ads), Trend Micro’s corporate website, paid display ads, events, print ads, and more.


You can watch the whole series here, or reach out if you’re interested in creating epic B2B engaging video content (video testimonials, video campaigns, product videos, social media videos, branded documentaries or other brand films) for your next video marketing campaign.  

See more on our YouTube Channel here