• Campaign Strategy
  • Copywriting


Winter 2020

Okta’s Rethink Active Directory Campaign

Butchershop has worked closely with Okta as a client partner since 2015 — first with the initial brand evolution for their IPO prep, to dozens of other strategic marketing and brand communication initiatives over the years. So it was a natural fit for them to tap us for their most audacious plan yet: Take down Microsoft’s Active Directory.

There is, of course, a reason why. Okta was on the campaign to gain notoriety in the Security and Identity markets as the go-to partner for helping organizations modernize their enterprise IT. One step organizations take on their journey to the cloud is to get rid of Active Directory — a legacy approach to user directories,  first built by Microsoft during the days of the Y2K frenzie. Think about what else came out in ‘99?! And yet enterprise companies are still dependent on it for their identity needs.

The client brief came from Okta’s CMO, Ryan Carlson, who wanted to run a campaign that sparked conversation, debate and interest by focusing on the legacy identity directory. The options were wide open, but we wanted the campaign to resonate with everyone from the C-suite to IT managers. We looked for ways to start a conversation with a bold idea: that organizations could break free from AD. We also doubled down on what Okta as a brand stands for: Freedom. And freedom, specifically the freedom to choose, stood in stark contrast to being locked in to a solution that no longer meets today’s needs. 

Our intention for the work was shaped by the audience. We knew that we needed to start a conversation with the folks that mattered most — IT and security teams that were looking to move their businesses forward. And bold honesty works, simply because it’s so rare. It was time to “Rethink AD.”

Butchershop worked with the Okta marketing, PR, Demand, and Advertising teams to create the strategy and copy for the Rethink AD campaign. It ran across paid media, content marketing, demand gen, events, OOH, and social — all which drove audiences to the campaign landing page. We wrote video scripts that ran on social and other channels. Okta took over Orlando airport with ads and fun activations at the Gartner Symposium IT conference. Swag t-shirts were gone the moment people saw them. Campaign art appeared in unexpected places.

The campaign garnered over millions of impressions with a click through rate 2x over baseline. The videos had over 14,000 organic views and social outperformed Okta’s typical content by almost 30%. It also exceeded Okta’s generated lead goals, resulting in clients turning to Okta to help get completely rid of Active Directory by the end of the year.


“This is a hell of a sales and advertising campaign.”

“This is hysterical. I saw the messages about CALs and loved it.”

“Super creative. I love it.”