Are scare tactics appropriate in the advertising of security systems? For years, the industry seemed to voice a unanimous “no” in answer to that question. But Broadview Security continues to stir up the controversy with its prime-time television commercials.

There’s no doubt they are effective.
Case in point: Last night while watching a rerun of “The Office” on Fox, a commercial ran for Broadview Security (aka Brink’s Home Security). It started with a creepy-looking guy peering through a gap in a back yard fence, watching a mother and daughter kick around a soccer ball. The mother and child soon go into their home and arm the security system to “Instant.” Within a second of arming, the voyeur kicks in the door and the alarm sounds loudly. There’s a happy ending with an immediate phone call from the central station operator to ask if everything’s okay, and a promise to “send help right now.”
This frightening scenario was executed perfectly, even from my subjective viewpoint as an editor covering the security industry.
What was most interesting was the reaction of my husband, who thinks of me more as a journalist than as someone involved in the security industry and didn’t make the immediate connection. Before the Broadview identifier even came across the screen, he commented something like, “That’s scary, isn’t it?”
Yes, it is. This commercial accomplished its objective of getting viewers to pay attention and recognize a powerful emotion — fear. It even caused my teenage son to look up from his Facebook session, and that doesn’t happen easily.