Security Sam

A characterful cyber security campaign for university staff


No. 12385 | Campaign


Design an internal comms campaign to raise awareness of cyber security issues among Durham University staff.


A versatile, character-led campaign that won silver at the CIPR 2023 PRide Awards.

Cyber security at Durham

We were commissioned to create a cyber security campaign for Durham University to influence staff to think more about keeping data safe and to encourage behavioural change. We wanted a memorable concept to make staff aware of the variety of threats, their potential impact, and what actions they can take to protect themselves and the University.


Security Sam says…

We presented Durham University with three different concepts, and after discussions with their leadership agreed on the friendly character Security Sam. We created ‘Sam’ by bringing a ‘quadrant’ from Durham’s modern tapestry to life, making something entirely new while working within their brand guidelines. Sam acts as a recognisable and helpful advice-giver who reminds users of the risks of data leaks with tips, warnings and other communications on cyber security. Sam’s design allowed us to present quite complex (and potentially dry) cyber security concepts in a friendly, digestible way with plenty of different icons for different situations.

We also worked closely with Durham’s internal communications team to create a series of comic strips and animated videos featuring Sam dealing with key cyber security issues. We designed and wrote a range of social media posts covering different aspects of cyber security and developed a suite of digital assets including newsletters, desktop screen images, intranet banners and digital screens throughout the University’s campuses and offices.

Our ‘Security Sam’ project for Durham won a silver award at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations North East PRide Awards 2023, which recognised both the creativity of the campaign and its impact on the security of the University.

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