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Ring Recruited Police Officers As ‘Influencers’ To Promote Its Security Products
By Mikelle Leow, 21 Jun 2021
Image via Shutterstock
While brand deals with influencers are nothing new, Ring’s choice of partnering personalities is arrestingly iffy.
For a number of years, the home security product company ran a program similar to influencer marketing campaigns that involved Los Angeles police officers touting its offerings “via word of mouth,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The news outlet shared email correspondences to back its report about this campaign, entitled ‘Pillar’.
“At least” 100 cops from the LAPD received free Ring products and discount codes, with “more than” 15 known instances of participants eventually promoting the brand, says Mashable.
The initiative was active from 2016, before Amazon bought over the company in 2018, and ended in 2019, some time after the acquisition.
“I, of course, will have to explain that I’m not endorsing your company specifically, but I think your product is a great crime prevention tool, and burglaries (and other theft related crimes) are the biggest problems for me in the area that I cover,” one senior officer was noted to have written to a Ring representative in 2016.
In another email thread, an officer detailed: “Every year, we have a West LA Division Beach party… We use our measly station fund and buy some gifts to raffle off as prizes. Without me asking, do you see where I’m going with this email?” The Ring correspondent replied, “We’d be happy to donate a Ring Doorbell and perhaps a new Solar Powered Security sign if that’s of interest?
Strangely enough, the campaign wasn’t found to have breached the LAPD’s guidelines. While cops cannot receive gifts that might affect their decisions at work, a department review apparently revealed no violations.
A spokesperson for Ring told the Times that it is no longer running this police-assisted campaign, or any other similar programs. “Ring stopped donating to law enforcement and encouraging police to promote our products years ago,” the company explained. “As Ring has grown, our practices have evolved, and we are always looking for ways to better serve our customers and their communities.”
[via Mashable and Los Angeles Times, cover image via Shutterstock]
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