Family-Owned Kern Group Garners Big Brand Attention

The Peoria, Ill.-based security company signed up to be part of Newcastle Brown Ale’s first-of-its kind ‘crowdfunded’ television commercial.

You’ve heard of the Band of Brothers, now comes the Band of Brands.

Trying to catch the wave of marketing euphoria surrounding the Super Bowl, Newcastle Brown Ale concocted a “crowdfunded” commercial that has garnered a ton of attention in advertising circles and beyond.

The concept is pretty slick: In 60 seconds, a spoof commercial – featuring a high-strung couple plugging all the goodies in their new house – is able to shoehorn in brand cameos by 37 other companies. Pretty shrewd on Newcastle’s part, no? Sign up dozens of other marketers to help foot the exorbitant production costs of making a television commercial?

Among the more recognizable brands are Jockey, Lee Jeans, Brawny,, Sharper Image and Dixie.

“Not only did we create the world’s first crowdfunded Big Game ad, but I’m pretty sure we just made the cheapest Big Game ad ever,” Priscilla Flores Dohnert, brand director for Newcastle Brown Ale, said in a press release. “By asking other brands to team up with our brand we are making a statement that Big Game advertising should be accessible to everyone, whether they can afford it or not.”

So why mention all this in an electronic security trade blog? Because one brand among your industry brethren can be seen (don’t blink) in the commercial. Want to take a stab at which company that may be? ADT? Protection 1? A telecom behemoth? Not even close. Try the family-owned Kern Group out of Peoria, Ill.

Newcastle solicited a “call for brands” in a clever video posted online and received hundreds of interested parties. Among them, Scott Kern, founder and managing partner of the Kern Group.

“Newcastle wanted to recruit like-minded brands who were open to having a little fun with this project and we wanted to join,” Kern told me. “We sent in a humorous E-mail to Newcastle describing our company and our wish to be a part of the first-ever crowdfunded Big Game ad.”

The company, a GE/Interlogix dealer, serves the residential, commercial and other market niches in Illinois, plus it has completed projects across the Pacific Northwest and Mountain regions.

Make no mistake, the “Band of Brands” commercial is not an official Super Bowl ad. It was never intended to be. In fact, it reportedly will only air in Palm Springs, Calif., on the day of the Super Bowl. Regardless, the commercial has generated a veritable gold mine of free publicity online and in national print publications. It went “live” Jan. 27 on YouTube and elsewhere and quickly garnered a dizzying amount of views.

The Kern Group brand – Kern Group Security – animates across the screen at the 33-second mark. It’s also seen twice as a window decal behind the two actors in a kitchen scene and at the conclusion of the commercial in the lower righthand corner of the screen as all the brands explode out of the house.

Kern said he was contractually obligated to remain mum on the amount of money he spent on the commercial. And even though Newcastle won’t be footing the estimated $4 million to buy placement during the Super Bowl, Kern said the experience has already paid huge dividends.

“As a small family-owned security integration business, TV spots are usually reserved for the major brands. The Band of Brands gave the little guy a shot at playing in their world,” he said “We have already received national exposure on the ad and it hasn’t even broadcast yet.”

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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