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Have you ever seen a TV or radio for a home alarm company? Companies like Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, AlarmForce and ADT spend millions of dollars on commercials focusing on how they have the best home security system. The thing to remember is often in these commercials certain things are either not mentioned or are misleading to the customer.

Here are a few things from recent commercials to note:

  • In Rogers Smart Home Monitoring’s recent TV commercials they show footage taken from their indoor video surveillance solution. The truth is that it’s not actual footage from one of their security cameras, but instead professionally shot footage recorded on an expensive professional camera. Will the actual camera footage look as crisp and clear as that shot on a $50,000 camera on a professionally lit set? Probably not.
  • In AlarmForce’s recent TV commercial, the “central station” is actually not their central station. The station in the ad looks like mission control, when in fact it’s simply a call centre located in the bottom floor of their office. While I understand the want to spice up a boring unglamorous call centre, the fact in the commercial the call centre looks like mission control is misleading.
  • Recent Rogers Smart Home Monitoring radio ads would mention the price of the system, however, they would say it’s “x” amount over the first two months of a 24-month contract. Then they would never mention the inflated rate of the monitoring over the remaining 22 months of the contract. Is the remaining rate $25/month? $40/month? $1000/month? It’s never mentioned! Plus, they never mention the fact that Rogers reserves the right to raise monitoring rates at any point during the contract and often do.
  • ADT uses dealers to sell their products. One such dealer is a company that used to be called Defender. Defender doesn’t have the same brand value as ADT, so Defender changed their name to Protect Your Home. This way, one direct mailers and various print marketing that Defender historically used, the customer would see the ADT logo followed by the words Protect Your Home. The customer may not have known Protect Your Home was a secondary company, but rather they could have thought that ADT is simply using Protect Your Home as a marketing byline. Misleading? You be the judge.

With any marketing, make sure you read the fine print and question everything. Understand that what may look slick in a commercial is actually not as great in person. Ask the right questions and look at the real underlying value. And cover yourself by never agreeing to anything that forces you into a contract!