ad fail friday – The Ring

Hello! And welcome to the inaugural post of a series we’re calling Ad Fail Fridays. Every Friday, we’re going to spotlight a brand whose marketing has earned a check minus for reasons ranging from airing a stupid ad to promoting a stupid product. Got it? Wonderful. Let’s move on.

For today’s Ad Fail Friday, we nominate The Ring.

The Ring offers a suite of security products, but its money-maker is a neat little video doorbell that’s easy to install and envelopes your home in the cozy blanket of Big Brother. I’m a little surprised at The Ring’s fall from grace. For starters, ads for The Ring feature Shaq, who is my absolute favorite commercial actor and should star in every single commercial. In fact, I’d get rid of television ads altogether and just have Shaq read ad copy for two and a half minutes every commercial break. Adding insult to injury is the memory of a past ad for The Ring that I absolutely loved. So, how did a brand with so much promise end up on Ad Fail Friday? Two words: Amazon packages.

julie warshaw, julie warsawAmerica’s dizzying love affair with online shopping has led to a growing problem with stolen packages. This is particularly painful for New Yorkers who use Amazon as an alternative to schlepping toilet paper up the block like a sad, one-person parade called, “I’m Gonna Wipe My Ass with This.” Even this humble writer is not immune to the threat of stolen packages and I choose to pay a hefty premium to have a doorman safely store my 24-pack of Charmin until I get home. Package theft is such an issue that ADT, the old standard in home security systems, recently parterned with Amazon to offer its customers unique protection from this type of crime. Hmm, OK. How does it work?

To the best of my understanding, package theft protection works a lot like the underpants gnomes. Step 1: install camera. Step 2:???? Step 3: profit. Which brings us back to The Ring. Responding to ADT’s partnership, The Ring has started airing ads targeting stolen packages. The ad begins with a woman running back to a car from the front door of a nice suburban house, empty-handed. She gets in the car and urgently tells the dude behind the wheel to start driving. When he asks what’s up, she says, “They have The Ring,” to which he responds, “But they didn’t say anything. Nobody saw you.” At this point, a patronizing white dude pops up from the back seat and says, “Actually, they did see you. And they shared it with the whole neighborhood.” The appropriately terrified would-be thieves immediately make a hasty exit, having learned that they won’t be able to steal any packages from this neighborhood and will definitely never be coming back.


You know what happens when you’ve got a camera keeping a watchful eye over your packages while you’re at work? You get to watch people steal your packages while you’re at work.

A few months ago, Patty’s car got stolen out of my uncle’s driveway in his safe, white-collar, Houston neighborhood. Miraculously, a neighbor across the street had a security camera and they were able to bring the footage to the police station. Thanks to the security-conscious neighbor; Bert, Patty, Uncle John, two police men, and an insurance adjuster were able to watch a man approach the vehicle, jimmy open the door, hot-wire the engine, and drive off. (The case is still open, so if anyone sees a man of average height wearing a baseball cap, you’re asked to call Houston PD.)

Are there other security companies making promises they probably can’t keep? Yep. But The Ring made a really really stupid ad about it. Sorry, guys. Total fail.