Why The Incredibles Needed an ADT Home Security System

A new Pixar-animated ad is the brand's first movie tie-in

Superhero tech guru Edna Mode walks Mr. and Mrs. Incredible through ADT's newest features.

Even superheroes need a good home security system, says a fun new ad from ADT and Disney, themed around the upcoming premiere of The Incredibles 2.

In the 30-second spot, animated by Pixar, the film’s titular super-family gets a tour of their new alarm system from superhero costume designer Edna Mode.

There are, for example, water level sensors—to safeguard against “surprise attacks” if a villain is hiding, for some reason, in a full bathtub, wielding a rubber ducking, waiting to pounce. There are motion sensors with live video—useful for tracking Mr. and Mrs. Incredible’s super-fast middle child, Dash. Intrusion detection can warn of invaders—and also help keep their teen daughter, Violet, gifted with invisibility, from sneaking out.

And given their toddler Jack Jack’s penchant for bursting into flame—as, among other things, a baby human torch—carbon monoxide and smoke detectors could prove useful.

Those security features are all, naturally, part of ADT’s Pulse mobile app—throughout the ad, Mode totes around a tablet showing the Incredibles (cover names: Bob and Helen Parr) how they work.

ADT is supporting the ad with a full broadcast buy, running on family-friendly shows like NBC’s The Voice and Little Big Shots, and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Radio spots produced with agency Bear in the Hall will run on linear and streaming channels, and a website and banners from ADT’s in-house creative team will further promote the message.

The movie itself, a much-anticipated sequel to the 2004 original, hits theaters June 15. The campaign, which will continue while the film is playing, is a fitting partnership for ADT—and new territory for the brand, marking its first time teaming up with a Hollywood studio around a movie.

“This felt like a pretty special opportunity,” says Shannon Hendrickson, director of media and advertising at ADT. “It’s not every day when you see these types of integration being done, where a company’s higher purpose so closely ladders up with the theme of the movie—at ADT, we pride ourselves on being a team of 17,500 everyday heroes, so to tap into the equity of the Incredibles and the super hero theme, was just really cool alignment.”

That symbiosis includes the fact that movie’s target audience—families—matches ADT’s. The company, which has been operating for some 140 years and essentially invented its industry, already has some 97 percent brand awareness in the home security category, says Hendrickson. But The Incredibles partnership also marks the beginning of a new tack for its messaging, focused more on its internet-connected features, which let users connect to and control their security features—as well as devices like lights and thermostats—remotely, using the Pulse app.

“This is sort of our first step in pushing off from some of the more historical work that we’ve been doing and taking the brand in a new direction,” she says. “So we are in the process right now of doing by the end of the year a reintroduction of ADT to the market. … ADT is synonymous with home security, but people don’t know as much about our smart home capabilities,” components of the company’s offering that “The Incredibles just help us to underscore so well.”

The shift comes as the company faces new competition from startups like SimpliSafe. Launched in 2006, that seller of DIY alarm systems has grown rapidly in recent years, and in December, savaged older and more-established contract-based firms like ADT in a clever silent-movie-themed advertising campaign of its own. But the change also reflects broader changes in consumer habits and the development of new products to serve them.

“We understand that the marketplace is changing; it’s sort of always changing,” says Hendrickson. “We ourselves are constantly innovating as well.”

Another example she points to is ADT’s Go mobile safety app—launched in January and free through the summer—which lets families track each others whereabouts, allows parents to monitor the behavior of new teen drivers, and includes a one-touch panic button that connects directly to ADT.

The point? “We just feel like safety is our higher purpose and we believe that everyone deserves to feel safe,” says Hendrickson. The Go app shows, “we’re taking safety outside the home, and now ADT is sort of always there in your pocket.”

@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.