ADT’s first in-house campaign aims to change the 145-year-old brand’s narrative
Over its 145-year-old history, ADT has developed an entrenched reputation as a home-security provider. But the company also offers other products, from smart-home integration to mobile security options for small and large businesses, and there consumer awareness is lagging.
So as the space grows more competitive, the company is setting out to change that narrative with its first campaign created by its new in-house team and agency-of-record McCann Worldgroup.
ADT Chief Marketing Officer Jochen Koedijk calls the effort a “total brand transformation.” The campaign, which launches August 23, includes TV, social and out-of-home ads; a redesigned website with an interactive component; and an internal branding update.
“The brand transformation is about moving ADT from a home-security provider to a human-protection platform,” says Koedijk. “People trust us and see us as reliable and the authority on safety and security, but [on] the flip side of that, many people still perceive us as a home-security provider, and we’re a lot more than that.”
The campaign, called “We Are What We Protect,” asks people: “What do you want to protect?” The premise, Koedijk says, is to show people that ADT can protect whatever someone might value, even outside the home.
“We want people to realize, however you answer that question, that no one besides ADT has more ways of protecting that,” says Koedijk. “It opens up the conversation and makes them think of ADT as being more than just an alarm system.”
In a 60-second TV spot, ADT shows people with the passions they want to protect and a search bar where these passions are typed out. One couple is shown in front of a house with the search bar reading: “My tiny house.” Another scene shows a baker preparing cupcakes with the search bar reading: “My life’s work.”
Another 30-second TV spot highlights ADT’s line of smart-home devices that can alert an employee at one of ADT’s 12 monitoring locations.
Ads across social, with a focus on Facebook and Instagram, along with out-of-home, show a series of items, loved ones or situations people would like to protect. Koedijk says the out-of-home element, which will include a takeover of Grand Central Terminal beginning in September, is meant to “drive the point across that human protection doesn’t stop at your front doorstep.” These will also feature HGTV’s "Property Brothers" Drew and Jonathan Scott, who starred in ADT’s first Super Bowl spot this past year.
Meanwhile, ADT has redesigned its website to become more interactive. It asks questions of visitors like: “Do you travel?” and “What kind of home do you live in?” and then directs them to the services and products that they might not expect to come from ADT.
ADT’s internal initiative launches at the same time. New signage at its offices is meant to reframe the company’s objective for its 19,000 employees across 200 locations in the U.S. and Canada. They serve the company’s 7 million residential, small business and commercial customers. ADT is also opening what it calls a “Gallery of Valuables” at its headquarters and several offices. It’s asking employees to share items they treasure and the story behind them, with a plan to periodically switch out items. One employee has donated a tennis trophy while another has shared artwork from her late son.
Koedijk says the campaign was a collaborative effort from McCann and ADT’s in-house agency. He said McCann developed the overarching idea, while ADT’s internal team refined and developed the storyline. He did not reveal the cost of the campaign; however, he says the company has increased its spend this year. Last year, ADT spent roughly $80 million on measured media, according to Kantar Media.
In April, ADT tapped McCann Worldgroup as its strategic and creative agency-of-record after a two-month review and announced it had brought pieces of its marketing in-house. Koedijk said ADT began growing its in-house team when he joined the company about a year ago, and did so in phrases, first with social and analytics, and then with media buying, including programmatic, search and TV.
“I did an evaluation of the organization and I concluded that we needed to increase the ownership of marketing functions like analytics and operations across all channels,” he says. Now ADT has a headcount of about 80 in its marketing department, which includes talent from brands like Red Bull, Magic Leap and Sling, and is currently hiring, according to the company.
Still, changing the narrative of a long-standing company like ADT is certainly not an easy task in what is now such a crowded space, with startups marketing their own smart-home cameras, and companies like Amazon playing in the market with its acquisition of Ring. The home security systems market is expected to grow from $33.8 billion in 2017 to $55 billion by 2023.