John Walsh signs as new SAI spokesman

Monday, April 1, 2002

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Va.-One of the Fox Network's most prominent celebrities has become Security Associates International's new spokesperson in a deal that will likely include direct on-air promotion of the Security Associates name to a vast television and print consumer audience.

John Walsh, host of Fox's popular America's Most Wanted and company officials appeared together at SAI's annual dealer conference held in early March to announce the deal. SAI management and officials from Consumer Information Services Inc., a corporation affiliated with Walsh, were set to meet later in the month to iron out the marketing plan, which in turn will be presented to Fox for review, said Steve Rubin, senior vice president with SAI.
The plan will likely include a combination of on-air promotions, inclusion of Walsh in company marketing literature, as well as other promotional opportunities, such as Walsh's hour-long interview on CNN's Larry King Live on March 4.

Walsh, who has been the host of Fox's long-running crime/missing persons show since its debut in 1988, has received numerous accolades from federal law enforcement agencies as well as President George Bush for his work on behalf of child protection and other crime victim legislation. Also an author, Walsh also had a son, Adam, who was kidnapped and found murdered in 1981 at the age of six. Press officials for Walsh were unable to accommodate an interview with Walsh by press time.

"Our missions are both the same, security," said Ray Gross, president and chief executive officer of SAI. "We really believe that with what we're trying to build and the brand we're trying to create, we could certainly use a spokesperson with very high identity and very strong integrity."

The company is banking on that identity to deliver results. Under terms of the deal, Walsh will plug Security Associates' program, as well as an 800 telephone number that will lead directly to sales and order entry personnel at a professional call center, Rubin said. SAI dealers in every market in the country will become authorized dealers of the new program, ensuring nationwide coverage. Those dealers will be able to use SAI's branded literature about the program in local markets, something which Walsh was "very willing to do" and which will provide significant benefit to SAI dealers, Gross said.

With an average of 17 million "security conscious" viewers a week through America's Most Wanted, Rubin said, "we're hoping that this is going to bring thousands and thousands of systems to our dealers as well as protect thousands and thousands of families that aren't protected right now."

The installation and service work will go directly to the SAI dealer in that local market, and the account will be monitored through SAI. The SAI program will consist of a monitored alarm system; other potential opportunities also include bundling into the program an offering called Street Smart, a program owned by Consumer Information Services that's designed to prevent identity theft using credit card, DNA and other information.

Walsh has been a powerful and effective spokesperson for that program; in one mention of the program and its toll-free telephone number on The Montel Williams talk show recently, the program received about 5,000 inquiries in just a few hours.