The Method Behind the Mayhem

I was recently in Phoenix, attending the National Student Advertising Competition as well as the Admerica convention. During one luncheon, Lisa Cochrane, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Allstate Insurance Company and Susan Credle, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett North America came to speak about the Allstate Mayhem campaign.

Mayhem has become a popular campaign since it began in July 2010, starring Dean Winters as “Mayhem” and showing that mayhem can happen at any time, when you least expect it.   Here’s a clip of my favorite Mayhem advertisement:

OMG, Becky’s Not Even Hot.

Cochrane and Credle talked about the campaign’s success as being a direct result of social media buzz created by fans. If the fans liked something, it was them who shared the ads with others, posted about the ads, or even referenced the ads (#OMGBeckysNotEvenHot)

It is sometimes hard to tell whether a spokesperson for a brand will resonate with an   audience. It was a big risk that Allstate took when they created a spokesperson who was not actually a spokesperson at all, but a sort of inanimate situation as performed by a super-villain. 5130320539_77610a9236_z

It wasn’t long before Mayhem became a common household name, the butt of many jokes, and even a popular Halloween costume.

With a character like Mayhem representing a brand, there are endless opportunities to interact with an audience. For instance, in the 2013 Superbowl when the lights were out for several minutes, Allstate took the opportunity to let Mayhem take the blame. By posting a Facebook status via the Mayhem character, Allstate had created their most-shared social media post.

This simple kind of branding is what I love about advertising. You can take a product or service that is as yawn-worthy as car insurance, and by simply introducing a new way of perception, an entertaining and (most importantly) recognizable brand was re-created.

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