With Google Nest, ADT Marketing Switches From Scary To Funny

As affordable home cameras continue to democratize home security, ADT is shifting tactics, expanding its ongoing partnership with Google. DeLu Jackson, chief marketing officer for the Florida-based company tells D2C Insider about the new ADT+ app experiences.

D2C Insider: Let's talk about the new ads, which feel like they're as much about Google Nest as they are about ADT. And there's no burglar breaking the kitchen window. Why the change?

DeLu Jackson: Everyone knows that security and safety matter to everyone. But this move to proactive safety and new technology allows us to present this in a way that avoids some of the historical focus on what we call "FUD marketing,"* or fear, uncertainty and doubt. It celebrates the capabilities of the technology without going to the scary place.

D2C Insider: Even as recently as a year ago, I might have said ADT competes with brands like Google Nest and Amazon's Ring, which have been gaining share. Is this an "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach?



Jackson: It's a tremendous partnership when you bring the great history of ADT, a category leader in safety and security, with a category leader in technology and innovation. There's tremendous benefit from a customer perspective. It's the best of technology, the best of security, the best of monitoring and the best of installation and capabilities. It makes sense for us and customers.

D2C Insider: Why Nest and not another brand?

Jackson: There are a lot of factors. But we focused on how complementary our brands are regarding vision, capability and interoperability, and category leadership.

D2C Insider: What do you hope the new ads will accomplish?

Jackson: The definition of safety and security has evolved. It used to be how fast you responded to everything that mattered. But with the transformation of technology, it's become proactive. We see bad things before they happen. And this campaign is about demonstrating how evolution and innovation are creating a new definition of safety in a way that means "No worries."

D2C Insider:
Did you work with an agency on these ads?

Jackson: We work with a number of agencies. This campaign was directed by Darius Marder, who is with Caviar, and developed with our internal creative teams working with Google. The spots are running on broadcast media, cable and online video. We've expanded into big sports moments, too.

D2C Insider: What are consumers most worried about? Crime is a big story in many parts of the country.

Jackson: All kinds of things. With ecommerce growth, people want to see deliveries. More people own pets and want to check in. Everyone deserves to feel safe, and we want to meet those broader definitions of safety. Whether you want to have it installed, do it yourself, or add a floodlight or doorbell camera, we want to help.

D2C Insider: You used the word proactive, and that's a significant change. The old idea of security is that ADT would call the cops or the fire department, and the homeowner would sit and wait. Today, people are making porch-pirate videos go viral. Cute security-cam footage of people's pets is all over TikTok.

Jackson: Yes, consumers want to be involved. It's now a shared partnership. It isn't about calling us after something happens -- they want to see it as it happens. Now they can be away from home and not worry because they can see what's happening in their house. That's empowering and creates more freedom. It's based on a consumer insight that says, I can enjoy life that much more when I have fewer things to be concerned about.

D2C Insider: Who is the new home security demographic? It used to be primarily in affluent neighborhoods.

Jackson: It's evolving, and goes back to the premise that everyone deserves the feel safe. That's why our partnerships are so important. We give different options to more people. People can create the solution that works best for their circumstances.

D2C Insider: How big is the home security market these days?

Jackson: It's being redefined. It used to be just home security, but now some estimates include smart home and smart security, which brings in many devices and components. However you size it, it's growing, with smart-home products growing in the mid- to high-double-digits.

*An earlier version mischaracterized fear-based marketing.

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