“Home Automation,” “Smart Home” and the “Internet of Things” have been buzzwords among tech enthusiasts for years, despite the fact that most people have no idea what they mean. Will Google’s new TV ads change all that?
In the run up to Christmas, Google hopes that it’s new ad campaign will convince consumers to upgrade some of their ancient household appliances with cutting edge smart technology. There are four ads in the series showcasing the Nest Learning Thermostat, The Nest Protect Smoke Alarm and the Dropcam Pro. Google bought Nest labs earlier this year to give it a foothold in the connected homes market, and they are certainly trying to strengthen their purchase with these ads.
Google uses a comedic ad campaign to diffuse consumer concerns
Google’s decision to run humorous ads that appeal to a mainstream audience, rather than a tech and spec ad for enthusiasts, is a sound one. The ‘techie’ audience that thrives on features already knows about these products and has either already purchased a Nest product or decided on another brand. These ads are about introducing smart home technology to the wider public and giving technology with monitoring capabilities a friendly face.
Take the cranky grandpa who says that “being cold builds character” and “getting up to change the thermostat builds leg muscles.” Google is subtly mocking the ‘old-fashioned and outdated’ view that when the internet comes to life, the “gizmos will turn against us.” It also manages to laugh at itself by admitting that getting up and changing a thermostat manually is hardly an arduous task, but it is still something we could permanently cross off the to do list.
The second ad focuses on a slightly neurotic man who checks his phone for fire and carbon monoxide warnings every fifteen seconds. He loves his Nest Protect Smoke Alarm a little too much, but Google underlines this joke with the reasonable suggestion that when it comes to protecting your home, it’s okay to be obsessive sometimes.
The last two ads in the series feature two more characters that are sure to hate Google’s Dropcam: a destructive toddler and a mischievous dog. The talking dog complains that the Dropcam is a serious “buzzkill” because it enables the homeowner to keep an eye on him and step in before he can get up to no good. Likewise, the youngster finds his appetite for destructive behaviour constrained by the Dropcam’s watchful gaze.
Will the ads change public perception of the smart home?
Regardless of whether Google will end up being the company to crack the smart home on a widescale or not, these ads do mark a significant milestone in the journey towards a smart upgrade in every household. Nest products may not touch on the more aesthetically pleasing aspects of home automation, such as lighting design or lighting installation, but they do comprise a reasonable ‘beginner’s kit.’
Hive tried to beat Google to the punch by releasing TV ad of their own and where these two have led, it’s only a matter of time before the smart home companies follow. Slowly but surely, the public is becoming aware of what it means to have a smart home. Convincing them to choose a Google smart home over any other brand is a different question entirely.