Nest Isn’t Just Smart and Sleek, But Funny Too, in First TV Ads

Device spots debut in time for holiday shopping

The connected-home company, Nest, is about to air its first TV commercials, a series of four humorous spots that show off the company's smart thermostats, smoke alarms, Web cameras, etc. Google owns Nest, competing for the growing interest in smart devices controlled by mobile phones.

One of the spots features a hyperactive kid who could use constant monitoring, the kind provided by a smartcam. There's another where an old man complains about thermostats and technology, as well as one about a neurotic homeowner invariably checking for carbon monoxide poisoning through his smart-home app.

Nest developed all of the commercials in-house and is buying national TV time during football games starting Sunday, during prime-time broadcasts for other kinds of programming, and across cable channels like ESPN and Discovery. The company declined to say how much it would spend on its effort, which is clearly timed to generate interest in thermostats ahead of the holidays.

"Who would have ever thought of giving smoke alarms and thermostats for Christmas or the holidays would be the norm, but we see a lot of people gifting our product," said Doug Sweeny, Nest's vp of marketing. "It's a big part of our business."

The commercials extend the company's Thoughtful Things campaign, which kicked off in September. Nest is competing in a hot space with established companies like Apple interested in smart-home products, and newcomers like Quirky, backed by General Electric, developing similar next-generation gadgetry.

In fact, Quirky recently started marketing its new thermostat as well as a lineup of connected devices and software.

Nest's commercials highlight the company's thermostat, smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Also, there's a spot for a security camera made by Dropcam, a company Nest bought this year.

The commercials attempt to erase any remaining skepticism about smart-home technology, and suggest to consumers why an upgrade is in order for these devices that have been part of homes but barely changed for decades, Sweeny said.

"We take unloved products, products like thermostats that haven't had innovation built into them at all, and reinvent them to reimagine what those products can be," Sweeny said.