"Your commmercial is frightening and traumatic for those who deal with anxiety disorders and suffer from panic attacks," writes Georgia resident Jack Smith, whose petition to ban the commercial has received just over 150 signatures thus far.
The controversial ad portrays an eerily empty house, with slow, heavily filtered tracking shots and emotionally manipulative sound effects. The camera ominously creeps toward a flight of basement stairs, as an elderly woman desperately cries out for help while her neighbor in the seemingly affluent area obliviously plays with two dogs and the mailman.
"Many people from around the world have voiced the same opinion, and you refuse to listen. Please remove this commercial and in the future consider advertising based on the merits of your service, not on how scared you can make viewers."
Life Alert, who purchased the slogan and iconic "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercials from defunct competitor LifeCall, says the change in tone from their famously over-acted and under-budgeted commercials is necessary to ensure people take the safety of the elderly seriously.
"In our business, we consistently hear horror stories of how families procrastinated in getting a Life Alert only to discover their loved one had fallen and was on the floor for hours (sometimes days) before someone found them," Life Alert said in an official statement, adding customers have complained their commercials conveyed levity, not danger.
"[Families] have even complained that our commercials are corny, and NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH, and that our message doesn't get through ... To date we have received many calls and emails from aging parents and/or adult children thanking us for showing them the severity of the problem affecting our beloved aging community. We understand that some people may have different tastes and either like or dislike our commercial, but the thousands of lives we are saving daily is very important to us and the families that trust us."
If indeed customers were complaining the old commercials were not serious enough, Life Alert likely did themselves no favors in 2007 when they licensed the famous slogan to Hallmark for use in a talking greeting card.