Duracell's New Ad: 'Oh No Your Kid Just Got Stolen!'

MSNBC’s Ads of the Weird blog is a little creeped out by Duracell’s new kidnapping commercial, and so are we. Making people feel bad about something is advertising’s job, we get that, but trying to scare parents into thinking their kid will be stolen from the playground by the classic man-in-a-van is going a little overboard. (Watch the commercial below.)

As MSNBC puts it, “It kind of makes us pine for that irritating, but light-hearted, Energizer bunny.” Plus, you can use the bunny to point out where the bad man touched you.

“Trust Duracell to Scare the *$#%! Out of You” [MSNBC]


Edit Your Comment

  1. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    Adam Walsh, really unavailable for comment.

  2. jamesdenver says:

    And statistics show that most likely that van was being driven by the step-dad or crazy uncle.

    Not some random stranger in a trenchcoat with lollipops.

  3. Dyscord says:

    I saw this commercial a few weeks ago and found nothing wrong with it. Duracell has had commercials like this for the past couple of years. One of them involved a high school basketball player having a heart attack. They’re basically saying “When you need something to work, Trust Duracell”

    Not seeing the problem here, other than the slight cheesiness of the commercial.

  4. Man, I was hoping it was going to be a funny ad, but nopers!

    It seems they’re totally serious. ‘Cause you know Duracell batteries last forever, so your Brickhouse Child Locater will never fail.

  5. lalaland13 says:

    @jamesdenver: Exactly. Not that those scenarios don’t happen, but more kids need to know that someone they know is more likely to do bad things to them, just like women need to know an acquaintance is more likely to assault then than a man in a dark alley. Although the latter definitely happens.

  6. lalaland13 says:

    @Dyscord: I love the ones that had some band-I think Bon Jovi, maybe? Like, OK, if you’re a rock star, you should really use Duracell. Otherwise, Rayovac is fine.

  7. zonk7ate9 says:

    I’ve been seeing this commercial for weeks, so I’d hardly call it new. I never got the impression that it was trying to make you think your Kid will get stolen. If that’s the case then their previous commercials must have made you think your going to be trapped in a collapsing burning building with no warning to get out or that your going to die and the batteries in the defibrillator used to try and revive you will be dead or when your daughter performs at her first recital the batteries in the microphone will be dead. It’s just trying to inform you that companies that manufacture important/life saving electronics use duracell batteries. Too many people take trivial things way out of context these days. (I know I watch too much TV to remember all those commercials, but that is not the issue here.)

  8. AskCars says:

    I thought it was weird too. Lo jacking your kid? This is common? I’m paranoid with my 6 month old but how big a park are you at that you need this?

  9. mamacat49 says:

    The first time I saw it, I wondered if the kid had some sort of “tracker” implanted in him and his mom had the GPS unit. Just a push of the button will tell you where little Johnny is! I still don’t know what a “Brickhouse Child Locator” is and, no, I don’t want to go find it.

  10. se7a7n7 says:

    They should have a worst case scenario commercial where the Mom was trying to be cheap and used shoddy Rayovac batteries, the kiddie lo jack doesn’t work and Gary Glitter is in the back of the van with her kid.

  11. Nick1693 says:

    @Rabbi Dave: It would be better with a satellite and iphone app, considering what else BrickHouse is known for…

  12. The question remains: Does a traditional brand like Duracell really want to associate itself with a company that sells something called the “CheckMate 5-minute infidelity test kit”?

    Let’s look that up, shall we?

    The CheckMate Semen and “Sperm” Detection Test Kit is the easiest and most cost effective way to put an end to the nightmare of suspicion and doubt caused by the infidelity of a cheating spouse or of a sexually active teen. [www.brickhousesecurity.com]

    If you continue reading, you’ll learn more than I wanted to know about post-encounter fluidics. I’m all for associating Duracell with it, because they deserve it for making this stupid ad.

    Remember kids, from know on when you hear “Duracell”, think “semen detection” or maybe just “infidelity”. That should be enough to get you to buy Energizer or better yet, Rayovac.

  13. Dyscord says:

    Also, no kid is fast enough to disappear when you turn your head for just a second.

  14. AdvocatesDevil says:

    I blame the original poster for letting go of the leash.

  15. Roclawzi says:

    This commercial fails the logic test. A van go driving away, and the mother can’t see her kid’s wandered off. Now, if that kid was abducted, it doesn’t really matter if the batteries are good because they will be out of range soon enough. If the batteries are bad it doesn’t matter because the kid’s in the van anyway. At best, it saves Mom some looking time, so that much is true, but that whole “abducted” vibe they put into this commercial fails the sniff test.

  16. LoganAdams says:

    Thought: Doesn’t this just tell kidnappers everywhere that they should either check their prey for the little locator devices or just be sure to get at least 600 feet away before the parents know what’s up? A speeding van can cover 600 feet pretty easily, even with a few crates of lollipops in the back.

  17. tinmiss says:

    @Dyscord: Clearly you never had to babysit me or my best friend. I used to hide in the circular clothes racks in department stores, and J’s mom got called to the customer service desk of Home Depot MANY times. It was the early nineties, so maybe our parents were less paranoid than the mom in the commercial. Nevertheless, I know my mom dearly wishes she had had one of these when I was little, just for her piece of mind.

    @Roclawzi: I agree that thing may not stop many kidnappers, but it’ll help parents find the kid who thinks its funny to hide in the jeans rack.

  18. Platypi {Redacted} says:


    Anyone who says no kid is fast enough to disappear on you is someone that has not spent time around kids. You get distracted “for a second” and they get interested in something and walk towards it. Despite your best intentions, suddenly you are looking everywhere for them. Your first searching looks are in the wrong places, and they have that much more time to find their way out of your sight. It is a heart-stopping moment for a parent, and there are times I would have paid 3x the cost of this to be able to find the missing kid that much more quickly.

  19. woot says:

    Ridiculous. I’d hate to meet any of the pathetically fearful, paranoid parents that buy into this. Does your precious little snowflake really have to spend their childhood wrapped in cotton wool? I shudder to think what these kids are going to be like when they reach adulthood.

  20. @Dyscord: I will tell you are wrong, and I speak from personel experience BEING that kid. It’s easy as can be. A child can drop out of eyesight easily behind a trashcan, bench, etc…and while you are trying to locate them, we just get more lost.

  21. @woot: I’d rather this that the people who keep their kids on a leash. This seems like a good idea for a child who is autistic and/or has other problems which may lead them to walk away. In fact, the first time that I saw this commercial, I thought he was autistic.

  22. woot says:

    From The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: “115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. (These crimes involve someone the child does not know or someone of slight acquaintance, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently”.

    That’s 115 out of about 74 million, which is roughly 1:643,000 and about the same the chance of being struck by lightning. It irritates me when people try to use fear to sell unnecessary products.

  23. woot says:

    @Git Em SteveDave displays attention-grabbing vanity: True. You have a point when it comes to kids with special needs.

  24. plural_of_moose says:

    This ad reminds me of a local hospital’s ad, set to a dramatic synthetic pulsing in the background: “You’re enjoying your weekend out at the game, when you suddenly feel chest pain. It’s your life; do you have a [local hospital] doctor?” *cuts into sales pitch* Implying that the other hospitals are going certainly going to kill you because you didnt go to a specific place just seems so pompous. To be clear, another hospital in the area has won awards for its cardiac care, so it’s not like there’s only one place that can deal with heart attacks. But by god they try to make you sure that you’re going to be in the morgue unless your doctor is their doctor, which in turn raises my blood pressure so I then get on the path to getting a heart attack….tricky.

    Fear is being used in more and more ads that I see- the lysol ones especially (I think little timmy can handle a cold, thanks), and I see nothing but opportunism as its basis.

    My response to duracell– when it just has to work: put in new batteries. Stop trying to scare easily cowed parents, who’ve become moe skittish than a chiuaua in a bullpen. The other duracell ads made their point very well, I thought, but using straight up terror tactics is bad form, in my book. Besides, giving that kid one of the exploding ipod nanos would be a much better form of self defense, AND he could listen to music

  25. Triterion says:

    Wow, I’ve always wanted a homing beacon, and I don’t even have kids. Think of all the uses for this!!

  26. Carl3000 says:

    If you google “lojack your kids” this company shows up in the sponsored ads

  27. RageTowers says:

    What’s worse? Companies cashing in on fear mongering “Oh noes! Van guy stole your kid!” or that we’ve started chipping our kids?

    Cause we all know that duracell prevents people from throwing small electronic devices away…

  28. magic8ball says:

    Lots of commercials use fear to try to sell stuff. This one sucks because it does it so badly. It’s like the ad agency sat down and said, “How can we make batteries more important? We have to make them a matter of LIFE AND DEATH!!11!” And then realized that there just aren’t that many scenarios where consumer-replaceable batteries are of critical, life-and-death importance, and they were going to have to make some up.

    Plus, any ad that can be summarized with the words “think of the children” is full of lose.

  29. @Dyscord: How many kids have you been around?

  30. audemars says:

    I bet the bunny was driving the van.

  31. thelushie says:

    @woot: Make sure it is ORGANIC because of pesticides and all.

    This reminds me of the paranoia of the 80s when it was coming out lots of children were being abducted and abused. I grew up during that time.

    I think it is important to teach people (big and little) how to be safe. If they know that, then they probably will be ok.

  32. CubFx says:

    I saw this commercial several weeks ago, and my first thought was “Stranger Danger”, an episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit.

    My next though was why the hell would someone “lojack” their child. Finding “uninterpreted” statistics proved difficult, but I did find these numbers. I beleive the stats are from 2006, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong… ~ 4000 child abductions… out of over 80,000,000 children. That is 1 in 20,000 chance.

    I sympathize with anybody who has been affected by a child abduction. It must be one of the worst things that can happen to a family.

    Their are much greater threats to your child however.

  33. But honestly, it would really suck for your child to get snatched, to pull out your Brickhouse, and realize the batteries are dead.

    Talk about creating new filthy curse words on the spot!

  34. sean77 says:

    Makes me miss the “It’s 12 am, do you know where your children are?” commercials. Back then you had to be missing for hours for a parent to notice you gone.

    Today it’s “you haven’t seen your kid in over 20 seconds.. panic!”

  35. zentex says:

    @Dyscord: BEEN that kid and HAVE that kid.

    You need to talk to more parents ;-)

  36. Starsmore says:

    Now, I get kind of paranoid with my kid, but I also know that Duracell don’t last worth squat in his various toys, why in the frak would I use it for a lojack keyfob? o.O

  37. cartman005 says:

    I don’t think the commercial is do bad.

  38. TVarmy says:

    I’m sorry, I laughed. Brickhouse’s website has a blurry frame capture of the kid and mom from the Duracell commercial, and notably features the two AA Duracells the thing takes.

    They also sell keyloggers. Damn. This is like spy-vs-spy, only instead your child is the other spy, using the infidelity kit to blackmail Dad. On the other hand, maybe I’m just bitter I didn’t think to start a business 90% based on people’s fears and paranoia. They also sell a lead testing kit, and I’ve heard those are apparently not that useful.

    Seems to me that their devices are fairly big. Kid might get annoyed and take it out of his pocket, and a bad guy would probably find it. Of course, were it something with added value for the kid, IE a cellphone, sure. Granted, the bad guy would get rid of that, too, since it’s common knowledge that cell phones can be tracked fairly well, even if they don’t have GPS. They used it in OJ’s trial.

    I wonder how far we are from getting GPS in a watch. Of course, it’d have to be a big watch to get a signal, and it’d have to have a good enough battery or just transmit location really rarely. Nothing easy there, unless there are real breakthroughs in GPS chips.

  39. seamer says:

    I like that a kid is potentially abducted, and a mother on her own with another child is feeling safe enough to go looking for the kid with the doodad on sale, rather than calling other figures who are actually able to handle “the kidnapper”.

    Cops would rather panic and call off a search for a kid who ran to get a balloon and is found normally, than be called 4 days later for a kid who was taken in a van and then to rescue the mother as well.

  40. stopNgoBeau says:

    @Dyscord: Second that.

  41. technopimp says:

    Nothing like playing on the hyper-sensitivity of parents to the thought of ANYTHING (good OR bad) happening to their precious little bundles…those same precious bundles who can be seen screaming their precious little heads off in the department store while over-protective and offended-at-this-commercial mom is beating him senseless and swinging him behind her by his arm to make him be quiet.

    Ah, the joys of having no one to “care” for. But seriously, I saw nothing wrong with this commercial. People need to calm down. Must be a slow news day.

  42. Josh885 says:

    My biggest problem with this commercial is that it keeps myth that your child is likely to be abducted by a stranger going. Studies show that the vast majority (like 99%) of abductions or child abuses are committed by some one the child and family trust. That’s where the real problem is not the extremely rare man in the van stereotype that mothers are being lead to believe is such an epidemic.

  43. BillsBurg says:

    @magic8ball: They also have the one where the kid with a new hearing aid hears rain for the first time as well. So their not all doom and gloom.

  44. TVarmy says:

    Oh, the gadget in the commercial doesn’t have GPS. It just has a little transmitter that you can play hot and cold with. If the kid’s more than 600 feet away, it can’t see him. Damn. That’s no good if the molester has a car, but this is probably decent for pedestrian zones. However, it is a lot cheaper than the other gizmos which have GPS ($190 vs $699). Seems they have high margins to make up for volume, or maybe they’re shysters. Who knows…

  45. Quilt says:

    I dunno, it’s kind of a creepy commercial, but it gets the point across well enough. The batteries worked, and the mom found her kid. What more or less do you put in there?

  46. That’s a really creepy commercial…

    I’m surprised they let that one out…

  47. So, I decided to look up this locator thing; I have a 2.5 year old toddler with a baby on the way – this would be slightly more socially acceptable to the “toddler leash” we plan to get him.

    Here’s the webpage:

    Scroll down to the bottom for the Amazon-style “reviews”. All are 5 star, all gushing. What is most interesting is that all of them use the proper style of “BrickHouse” (big B, big H, all one word), as well as the proper full name of each branded product (again, with proper capitalization). Obviously I can’t *prove* wrongdoing, but c’mon.

    Also note the little disclaimer that “reviews are subject to approval”. Also note that while you can rate how helpful a review is, that ranking doesn’t show up next to the review. Doesn’t this kind of fake testimonial require a disclaimer?

  48. AgentTuttle says:

    This is kind of like the cell phone commercials that pretty much say you should have one so you don’t get raped. Yes, bad things happen, but capitalizing on fear is wrong.

    Reminds me of the SNL commercial for the insurance that protects against robot attacks.


  49. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    See, and I cheaped out and got one of them Bucket of Volts from the discounts bin where I get 900 batteries for a dollar. Egg on my face when I turned on my child’s locator device and was out of juice.

    Thankfully I went to the corner of Fifth and Main, alone, with a briefcase of unmarked bills totaling $25,000 and they dropped Billy off the van and removed his blindfold. Sometimes those cheap batteries aren’t as great a deal as they sound, kids.

  50. leftystrat says:

    Why don’t we just get it over with and implant chips in our kids. After that we can tattoo barcodes on our foreheads.

    Don’t forget the OnStar commercials.

    “It’s for the children.”

    I haven’t chipped *my* kids yet (and they’re quadrupeds).

  51. schiff says:

    This commercial simply plays on the paranoia we have instilled in every young parent. Im not saying that there are no bad people in the world but when a corporation like Duracell exploits such events its lowers their position to a degree.

    A different path: The kid wanders off in a crowd and the “kid finder” helps you determine the direction and ultimately you find him. Why play on the kidnapping possibility?

  52. GamblesAC2 says:

    i dont see any problems with this commercial. it clearly states the products purpose and for the around 99% of the population which doesnt suffer from a survere anxiety disorder it isnt at all disturbing.

  53. Muisee says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with that commercial. They are not saying your kid will be taken if you do not use their product; they are saying a very important, sometimes life saving device uses their product because it is dependable. Whatever else you perceive the ad saying is on you. As a marketing/business student I love the series of ads Duracell has rolled out over the years.

  54. l951b951 says:

    I’m totally freaked out by the fact that “Lojack for kids” is available. My parents had a system like that called, if you are out of arms reach, we will close the distance an whip you with the hand. Amazingly, I never wandered away.

  55. michaelk42 says:

    Well, clearly the device failed in the end anyway. By the time the mother found the kid, the pedo had already given him a balloon for a job well done.

  56. FLConsumer says:

    What about if you’re INTENTIONALLY trying to lose your kid? Buy Ray-o-vac instead?

  57. deweydecimated says:

    Honestly, what’s wrong with this ad is the big hug at the end. No “DON’T YOU EVER DO THAT AGAIN” or realistic post-stress mommy yelling.

  58. Trai_Dep says:

    That’s when I have kids, I’ll keep them away from family and friends; 98% of child abductions are from them. And raise them Buddhist not Catholic; (cough).
    Or make sure my tykes play with more photogenic ones; see the “needing to outrun a bear” strategy.

    Sigh. From the cuddly Energizer Bunny ads to ones hawking histrionic, local-news-fueled urban legend. How far they’ve fallen.

  59. chartrule says:

    considering the day and age i don’t see a problem with a parent lojack their child

  60. mdoublej says:

    Oh please, nobody wants your rotten kids…

  61. @Trai_Dep: It’s a shame there aren’t kids out there who are like the fainting goats. When they get excited, their muscles lock up, and they topple over. The people who raise them say that they wold mix these goats in with more valuable goats, and if a predator attacked, they would stiffen up and fall over, and the others would get away.

  62. robocop is bleeding says:

    So they show the Mom dumping out her back to find her locater and then cut to her tugging her stroller in her desperate search for lil Kevin. So that means she either 1) left all her stuff laying on a blanket or 2) took the time to repack all her stuff, all the while her baby is being touched by a bad man with a balloon.

  63. Mom2Talavera says:
  64. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Its cross marketing. Brickhouse either split the costs or paid duracell directly for that.

    I dont see the problem. Seems like a good partnership. I mean when you think about it, any brickhouse ad is going to be disturbing.

  65. Mom2Talavera says:


    fo sho ! little bastard!

  66. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Roclawzi: I agree and that makes the commercial especially bad. If they had showed a situation like Git Em SteveDave suggested and the kid was autistic or simply lost (no van shot) at least they wouldn’t be suggesting the product can do something that it can’t.

  67. LionelEHutz says:

    If Woody would have called the police, none of this would have ever happened.

    Oh, and the ad was a bit creepy.

  68. Scoobatz says:

    I’ve never used a Brickhouse Child Locater before. My wife and I developed a helmet equipped with a red beacon and audible alarm, and we make our 3 year old wear this anytime he plays in public. We love our son dearly and would only trust Duracell to power his helmet, as his safety is our main priority.

  69. incognit000 says:

    Quick question: why would a device which is in constant need of reliable power be dependent on non-rechargeable batteries that always need replacing? Or does Duracell make LiPo packs now? Cus I own dozens of machines that use rechargeable LiPo or NiMH batteries and not a one of them is made by Duracell. Also, since when do defribulators or in-house alarms rely on Duracell batteries?

    Second bit: I used to volunteer at a children’s science center. I will never understand why, but parents would neglect and ignore their kids all day, and then have a fit if they hurt themselves or they went missing. We once had to lock down the building and call the cops (all at a mother’s insistance) just to find one kid who, as it turned out, was waiting exactly where Mommy left him three hours ago when she decided to leave the building to go shopping. He was curled up and crying because Mom had forgotten about him and he thought he’d been abandoned.

  70. Nofsdad says:

    I once at my two year old daughter on a picture bench at Disneyland and walked away about eight to ten feet (MAYBE 2-3 seconds) and when I turned around to take the picture she was gone. Luckily we were on Tom Sawyer Island so the area was small and with the help of security guards, we had her back in just a few minutes but the job description for a lot of 2-5 year olds is built around disappearing in a heartbeat.

  71. Stonecutter says:

    @woot: Just because kidnapping is highly unlikely doesn’t mean that your kid won’t wander off and hit by a car in the parking lot.

  72. UnicornMaster says:

    The crazy thing is the Ad could have used the same product and been effective if it was less serious and perhaps more of a “damnit where’s that kid?” kind of moment. But the music and the white van make you pretty uneasy.

  73. econobiker says:

    Does Duracell sell any type of batteries used to power laser pistol or rifle gun sight? Now that would be a F-N great commercial!

    “When PFC. Johnson wants a reliable battery to power his rifle to sight in an Iraqi insurgent for a one shot kill, he trusts Duracell. BANG.”

  74. telepanda says:

    I don’t know that I’d actually use this product, but there is a vignette from my childhood that would actually make a decent ad for it (far more compelling, and plausible, I think, than the kidnapper):

    My mother took my (toddler) brother and I on vacation. We got out of the car at the motel, and she sent me ahead to the room with a suitcase. She looked away for a moment and didn’t see my brother go with me – when she looked up, there was no toddler in sight, with an unsecured swimming pool in one direction and a busy road in the other. She panicked, not knowing which direction he was headed, and afraid to turn her back on either pool or road to search for him. Fortunately, she managed to flag down a passerby, who agreed to watch the pool while she looked for him. But that little episode probably took a couple of years off her life, and at least knowing which direction he’d gone in would have made things much easier.

  75. Jeneni says:

    Okay, is anyone else disturbed that BrickHouseSecurity posted this on youtube as a video response to “Chandra Levy found dead Missing Kids”? I don’t think the commercial itself was all that terrible, but I find their aggressive marketing on youtube a bit… off.

  76. blackmage439 says:

    THANK YOU, MSNBC & Consumerist.

    This ad has so many cliches it makes me sick. The classic van. The dumbass mother who turns away for 5 seconds. The kid who manages vanish in a wide-open park. Soo stupid…

  77. ironchef says:

    the mom left the kid in a hot car.

  78. welsey says:

    @deweydecimated: haha exactly!! I rode my bike with a friend too many blocks away once and when I got back my mom flipped out. I pretty much was convinced I deserved some sort of jail sentence.

  79. halloweenjack says:

    I thought that she would have found her kid tooling around in a podracer, or hanging out with a couple of dudes in earth-colored robes. Come on, don’t tell me that I’m the only one who saw a resemblance…

  80. timsgm1418 says:

    @Git Em SteveDave displays attention-grabbing vanity: I used to agree with you, before I had twins (way back in 1984) they learned the fine art of “divide and conquer” early on. I only used them when they were toddlers in they stroller, because they would definitely wander off, and were very friendly babies. When I knew we were going to be in a crowded place, I would also dress them identically (never at any other time, I hate that) so I could say “she’s wearing this outfit” one of the twins was notorious for disappearing in milliseconds. While I used to think the leash thing was cruel, I prefer it over a lost kid

  81. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    It would have been funny if when she emptied out her purse the kid fell out of it.

  82. oldwiz says:

    Would it not be better to outlaw vans?


  83. KashmirKong says:

    I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen a commercial within a commercial, but I barely watch tv anymore so maybe not.

  84. UniComp says:

    Wow, so buy Duracell, or your kids will die. Great promo.

  85. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    OH wow, that’s so weird. While I was reading this, the ad came on comedy central. Strange LOL.

  86. @Git Em SteveDave displays attention-grabbing vanity: So you’re recommending that we breed fainting-goat kids to mix in with the normal ones, so that they’ll distract the predators who attack playgrounds?

  87. @Git Em SteveDave displays attention-grabbing vanity: I wish I could give you a second star.

  88. SkyeBlue says:

    If you watch the news even occasionally or catch “Nancy Grace” more than once a week then you know it’s not failing batteries, men in vans with lollipops or even creepy uncles that this kid needs to be watching out for, it’s his own MOTHER!

  89. BlandonHennessy says:

    After seeing this ad I will no longer be using Duracell batteries. A law needs to be passed that grants children the right to refuse being tracked.

    “Get paranoid about your child’s safety and start tracking him/her today”. Nice little PR move from the Industry.

    I’m sure I’ll hate to see how this device is used on children in ten years. Thank God I am not a child in these times.

  90. weirdalfan27 says:

    This commercial is really stupid. The kid just was flying a kite out of the lady’s screaming range. And just because there was a van driving away doesn’t mean your kid got kidnapped. And doesn’t it seem evil that she would put a GPS locator thing in her child and basically spy on everywhere they go?