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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SECURITY SYSTEMS

"On to my next quest"

You may have seen these ads, particularly if you watch anything on Comcast On Demand.  Comcast is trying to sell their home security system by comparing their app-based cable connected security with an old clanky knight.  Here's a sample:

Now, putting aside the silly concept of anyone, anywhere hiring a knight in armor, let alone an aged one, to guard their home, let us consider this a bit more closely.
Comcast is trying to act like using any other security system is old fashioned; its actually a tag line in some of their ads "don't be old fashioned."  They're using the old knight in armor to stand in for any other security system which, not being "in the cloud" and accessible "anywhere" from your smart phone is thus dated and old.
But consider; which would be preferable?
  • An internet based system which, by its own advertising notes that you can turn it off "from anywhere" using only a phone, and look at cameras anywhere in your home, just by using the phone.
  • An armored knight with a broadsword.
Now, perhaps you're new to the internet and aren't aware of this, but it gets hacked pretty much every minute of the day. Passwords are stolen and sold on Chinese and Russian websites.  Your smart phone is not secure.
I once found a website (now gone) that had live feeds of people's homes from around the world by clicking on various names.  All they did was use commonly used passwords and logged into the security systems.  It was like this weird voyeuristic show, but really boring because it was all empty rooms and darkness - people turn on their security when they leave, not when they do fun stuff to watch.
What I'm saying is what should be abundantly obvious to everyone who has a television to watch Comcast ads: this is a really stupid, bad idea.  You're making it easier for burglars to turn off your security system and watch for when you aren't home.  You're making it easier for evil sexual predators and monsters to know your patterns and when you're home or alone.  Get it?
This is like publishing your daily activities and living in a glass building all day long.  It seems cool and high tech and new and fancy, but its just really stupid.
But an armored knight?  Unless he goes to sleep, he's a physical, combat-ready soldier that acts as a physical deterrent to intruders.
And its not even old fashioned.  Its so old an image, it doesn't even feel old fashioned, it feels beyond vintage to a fantasy era.  Which is cooler to you, being guarded by a knight in shining armor with a sword, or your smart phone?
These ads have a viral feel to them, like some hip college dude with a fancy business card came up with it for Comcast, but they don't make sense.  I doubt they even get people to want to buy the product.
In other words, it gets people to be aware of and talk about comcast's security system... but not in a positive way that makes them want to purchase the security system.  You can get a viral video of you being hurled over a bull's head by his horns in your furry beanbags, but that doesn't make people think you're cool.  You will get millions of hits, but who thinks anything positive of you from watching it?
The purpose of advertising is to make people think positively of your product and even want to purchase it.  Not to just make you familiar.  Being known but known in a negative light doesn't help your company.  But they've sunk millions into these ads, and for what?
Maybe its just me.  Maybe they do work.  Maybe people see it and go "yeah dude, he's old, get a phone app!"  I don't know.  All I know is everyone I ask about this chooses the knight over the hackable phone.

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