A couple of years ago, Nest discovered something very surprising: the holiday season was the busiest time of year for sales.

Who would have thought that thermostats would become attractive gifts? Nest didn't initially. But the company found in 2012 that people were buying its learning thermostats and installing them on Christmas day "like a toy."

Now a Google-owned company, Nest has a much bigger marketing budget than it did in 2012. And it's using that to roll out national television ads to get consumers more interested in the product during the holidays. The first one was shown last night during Sunday Night Football. More ads will also be released promoting Dropcam and Nest Protect, the company's smoke detector.

"This is all about the mainstreaming of intelligent efficiency," said Ben Bixby, director of products at Nest.

But in typical Nest fashion, the ads don't lead with energy -- they use humor to talk about convenience. "Energy in itself is not going to sell thermostats," said Bixby.

Watch the first ad, featuring Richard Herd of Seinfeld fame, below. You can see the rest of the ads here.