The Need

The Information Technology manager for the City of Santa Cruz was tasked with implementing a Cyber Security programme across an employee base of 800 staff. The training needed to educate the employee base on newly established policies and procedures, as well as become a standard requirement for new employee orientation. The 800 staff come from diverse cultural backgrounds and have varying educational levels. This meant that the training needed to resonate and be memorable across a spectrum of participants. It was decided that they needed to look for something unconventional that employees found both entertaining and informative and that is how they came upon the solution provided by Popcorn Training. The fun and instructional Something Phishy cartoon series was the answer.

The Solution

The City of Santa Cruz decided to roll out Something Phishy, Pass the Password, Internet Threats and Social Media Fever over the course of 2017.One module to be released per quarter, each supported by campaign material including frequent email reminders and incentives. It was vital to keep the training interesting and stimulating using videos and infographics. The use of regular consistent messaging reinforced positive outcome behavior encouraging city officials to want to participate. Staff were exposed to a training reminder message at least once per month. Each module looked at a 12-week program roll out and they have subsequently requested that completing Popcorn Training become an annual requirement.


From city clerks to police officers, firemen, and public works officials, the general consensus received was that the cartoons were an educating, fun and entertaining learning method, and they actually look forward to training now.

  • 10 out of 14 departments completed 100% of the training
  • 5 departments were in the race to win to be the first to complete the training
  • The Fire Department took top honors in quarter one as they were the first to complete their training
  • Finance and Planning finished second behind Parks and Rec during the second quarter training
  • Parks and Rec with 64 users were the first to complete the training during the second quarter training




Pictured here is Tremain Hedden-Jones, the Department Technology Coordinator for Parks & Rec. He was the driving force behind his team’s success as Parks and Rec became the Second Quarter winner. His team was the first to have all members complete their training.

It was a race to the finish, in quarter three between the Waste Water Treatment Facility and Fire Department. It was a close call and there were four other departments hot on the heels of the two battling it out for the number one spot. But there can be only one winner. The Waste Water Treatment Facility took top honors.

Left: Fire Department
Right: Waste Water Treatment Facility