The Dropcam Parent Nowhere To Be Found In New Nest Ads

November 18, 2014 Ben Myers

Can we talk about Nest’s new ads?

They’re funny. Not robot-sports-talk-show funny, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them during the Super Bowl.

The only problem is that the people they put in front of the camera to make light of the product do a great job of describing why you shouldn’t need it. The commercials put its characters in strange isolation with only a omnipresent smart house device to interact with.

Take the ad featuring the rambunctious child being monitored by the Nest Dropcam: With his parent inexplicably absent, he’s left to trash the house and play with toys – and that’s all well and good. But at no point in the video – or in any of these Nest ads – do we see another human walk into the frame.

Nest is watching2

Don’t turn around!

The Nest Parent

Like HAL 9000, the camera peers from the shelf, meant to silently monitor the room. The ad alludes to the panopticon principle, policing the child by making him think that he’s monitored at all times, imposing self-policing for fear of being caught doing something wrong.

Most pieces of technology at least claim to bring people together, despite their isolating nature. Nest, however, is going in the opposite direction; Monitoring your children so you don’t have to!

The kid says that his parents are ‘in the other room’, but unless his parents are ‘in the other room’ staring at their phones or computers, they’re not going to be able to prevent the destruction anyway. Unless Dad is fixing the garage door with his phone taped to his wrench, this is kind of pointless.

Remember when ads used to encourage parents to talk to our children about things? Drugs. Sex. Bullying. Divorce. Death. Well that’s over! Parents can come home from a date night, review the footage of their unsupervised child, and scold accordingly.

Nest may have to add a comment to the end of the video: “Talk to your children about misbehaviour.”

The middle-aged guy obsessively checking his phone is another weirdly perfect example of why you don’t need a Nest alarm: Your house is not going to be on fire 99.9999% of the time. A watched pot never boils and a monitored house surely won’t catch on fire while you’re refreshing its app.

The Nest thermostat seems useful, but Grampa’s warning about the internet turning on us is prescient since Nest devices do occasionally malfunction and turn a house into a sauna. Worse yet, imagine it turning off the heat in the winter. You might think your house is trying to kill you.

Finally – shouting at your dog through the Internet? Why did you even get a dog?!

I guess that if you prefer to watch your kids through a camera, check your phone for bad news all day and or be an absentee pet owner, then Nest is for you.

I would just leave you with this public service announcement:

Talk to your family about human interaction. A message from Dx3.

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