Why This Home Automation Commercial Fails

You know the drill; mornings in your house are probably a lot like mornings in mine. The “Today Show” is playing in the background, the kids are eating cereal or, if they’re lucky, some hot toast. Lunches are packed and coffee consumed as we all shuffle about getting ready for the day.

Then, one sleepy, dark morning in November my husband saw this Wink commercial  featuring an ogling robot polishing a cactus while watching a mom do yoga. And he did what any unbelieving, did-that-really-just-happen person would do: He paused and backed up the DVR to watch it again. Of course, with 11- and 13-year-old boys nearby, it caught their attention, too. And there we were, explaining to the boys why this commercial just went too far.  

As a home automation fan and marketer, I love what Wink is trying to do. Provocative, eye-grabbing commercials definitely get noticed — but do they always generate the right results?



If you look online at the comments surrounding the video, the women are outraged by this commercial with comments like “Shocked”, “COMPLETELY inappropriate” (caps by reviewer). But my problem goes deeper than the obvious sexual connotations of the spot. The issue I had is after watching the commercial twice (okay, I admit it, three times … but only because the men in my house were in awe), is that I still didn’t know what Wink does.

Simon Sinek has said, “Customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” When it comes to Wink, I want to understand the benefit of home automation, but the commercial simply tells me the benefit is that the tool is better than creepy robots. Guess what? I, in fact, do not own any robots, creepy or otherwise. I do own Control4, which runs my music, lights and locks. So, why is Wink better than that?  For the non-techy out there who haven’t yet started with home automation, why is Wink better than nothing? The short answer is: I have no idea!

So while the marketer in me gives kudos to Wink for creativity, I’m also reminded that what really matters is the buyer.

Marketing dollars are precious. I’m sure that’s the case for a young company like Wink as well. Even with a healthy marketing budget for my company’s size and growth, I treat every dollar as if it were my own. I negotiate every bit of spend personally. I measure the impact of that spend on my core metrics, like awareness, share of voice, lead generation, conversion to opportunity and won deals. I track the percentage of target accounts that engage with our brand and our content.  In other words, my activities are focused on helping people learn, understand and move closer to buying.

The bottom line: Ads like this one from Wink generate awareness, but they do not take the consumer from awareness to research to buying – and that’s what good marketing must do. It’s unfortunate for Wink but for me it at least ensures I won’t die having never seen a robot wax its cactus.

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