In Defense of Life Alert

Life Alert Ad. Alert1 Medical Alert

Updated 8/17/15 1:42pm | Life Alert is often misunderstood in the aging in place industry. Alert1 will rise to defend her honor in this article. If you’re looking for a side by side comparison, follow this link to know how much Alert1 costs compared to Life Alert .

Life Alert gets a bad rap. During summer 2013, it fell victim to a robocall scam from unsavory industry actors. Later, it got sued for  ‘failure to perform’ by a customer who wasn’t even theirs. It battled  a defective product issue. And TV viewers continue to laugh at their  ridiculous ads. 

But even with their cheesy ads and infamous tagline, Life Alert   improved the senior medical alert system industry. Life Alert helped  grow the industry from consumer awareness to medical professional  acceptance. That’s a good thing for those of us like Alert1 who  love improving senior safety and saving lives. This post explores the  good side of what Life Alert has done for the medical alert industry. 

Life Alert Advertising

Consumers expect sophisticated advertising from sophisticated companies. When we watch television, many of us come away from our screens remembering the billion dollar commercials from Superbowl Sunday. Or we remember laughing at the funny situation in the new car dealership and the witty quip the salesman made to the customer. But, we forget which company was selling which car with some unknown special financing rates. It was a red something or other with 0% APR, right?    

Businesses focus so hard on capturing our attention that they often lose sight of the message they want us to take away. To be fair, if there is relevance in the ad, consumers will indeed take something away. Better yet, they may even buy. But red cars and attractive financing are available through many reputable businesses. So which does a picky customer choose? 

Advertising is often a case of a rising tide lifting all boats. And that turns out to be a good thing for everyone concerned, especially Alert1 medical alert systems.

Life Alert's large ad spend has served as a well established advertisement for the medical alert industry. Its presence in the market has lifted all boats and for that, it deserves our genuine gratitude. In raising awareness, they have also expanded the market. More seniors know about life saving technology as a result of Life Alert’s terrible ads.

A large slice of that increased awareness may have come about as much by accident as design. In most cases, companies avoid humor in advertising. This is especially true when there is sensitivity surrounding the product and its use. For example, we rarely see financial security companies like Charles Schwab use humor to sell their wares. Yet the "help I've fallen" ads have found themselves subject to comedic parody and public ridicule. This, in a market which otherwise provides a serious service – saving lives! 

It’s not the subject matter that elicits the laughs. Rather, it’s the nature of the terrible acting and poor production values on our TV screens. But, the laughability of the Life Alert ads reminds us to check on our aging relatives and friends. And if that works, then enough of the message has gotten through. (And hey, if you want to compare Alert1 costs to Life Alert costs, well that works, too.)

Perhaps the old truism that ‘all publicity is good publicity’ is at work. Maybe we need to see a dramatization of a traumatic event to realize its relevance and urgency. Paradoxically, the silly “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”TM tagline might have made the message more potent! Bravo!

Elderly Man Business Meeting

Alert1 and Life Alert Business Practices

Legitimate senior medical alert system providers should share a common goal. We aren’t just interested in adding to our balance sheets, we’re changing lives. The top companies – companies like Alert1– care about our seniors. We want to see seniors enjoying a high quality of life in their own homes.

We want to provide seniors with peace of mind that comes from the knowledge that they will get immediate help in an emergency. Alert1 medical alert systems for seniors help clear a longer path of independence through the golden years. 


Life Alert’s terrible ads and corny tagline have raised awareness of senior issues. The impact has lasted almost two generations, helping companies like Alert1 along the way. Anyone with parents or grandparents should applaud the heightened awareness.

So feel free to snicker at the dreadful ads. Feel free to chuckle at the silly tagline. But please remember, senior safety is no laughing matter!


Life Alert is a registered trademark of Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc.