J's Page

Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.

Latest ‘Mayhem’ commercials: No black eye for Allstate


UPDATE 5-31-2012: Allstate is updating its YouTube channel, and some videos are working and some are not. I’m trying to update the links as soon as Allstate reposts them. Thank you for your patience.

ED’S NOTE: The commentary here reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

UPDATE 10-03-2011: Mayhem the Text Walker


Oh, Mayhem. You had me at “shaky, shaky” last year. Who would’ve thought our love affair would last when Allstate (NASDAQ: ALL) decided to make insurance funnier than a gecko?

“Mayhem” continues to charm in the most recent spots, which were posted on Allstate’s YouTube channel in late May. Actor Dean Winters joyfully takes on the roles of Mayhem as a raccoon (“Raccoon Mayhem”), a Craigslist buyer (“Motorcycle Mayhem”) and a kid intent on clogging a toilet with toys (“Toilet Flood Mayhem”). Quick looks at YouTube and Facebook show the ads’ dark humor proves popular.

At the time of this writing, “Raccoon Mayhem” had 183,103 views on YouTube, 674 likes and 10 dislikes. On Mayhem’s Facebook page, which boasts 991,447 followers, 372 people liked the ad and 58 commented. On YouTube, 44 viewers weighed in, including one who said:

This commercial helps me forget the pain of sitting through a Magnum Ice Cream, or Geico, or Progressive commercial. Mayhem makes a valid point about how one shouldn’t just go for the cheapest brand when selecting an insurer, and at the same time he’s clever and amusing.

High praise, that.

The 15-second ad “Toilet Flood Mayhem” has only 31,523 views on YouTube, 68 likes and one dislike, and two comments not of note. (I guess a kid shoving toys in a toilet just isn’t as fun as a raccoon eating insulation.) On Facebook, however, this ad has 771 likes and 255 comments, including:

Love Mayhem. No commercial is better. Kids call me to tell me Mayhem is on. Awesome.

(I think it’s sweet her kids call her to tell her a commercial is on, but wouldn’t it be over with by the she answered?)

“Motorcycle Mayhem” — a 30-second spot that I had not seen before today — has 1,664 likes on Facebook and 166 comments. This time Mayhem is answering an online classified ad and the script is nearly perfect: “You listed this midlife crisis on the Internet, and three e-mails later, you’re going to trust me to a test drive? How hard can this be?”

At the time of this writing, the spot has been viewed on YouTube 46,761 times and generated 11 comments. Among the top-rated remarks:

I would sit through this commercial a thousand times and still be happy. I turn the channel when that stupid gecko and his fake radio show or that stupid woman and her fake Walmart comes on TV.


I personally believe this is the worst one, and it’s still pretty funny.

Although comments and likes don’t necessarily translate into “conversions” (actual customers), Mayhem’s dark humor has impact — he’s effective. We know who he is and we know the brand — and brand recognition goes far these days. It seems Allstate found themselves in good hands when they hired Leo Burnett, the agency that brought us product characters such as the Marlboro Man, Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam.

Author: Jacqui Barrineau

Jacqui Barrineau is a writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with husband Trey, a Shetland Sheepdog and two unhelpful-but-funny cats. Her work has appeared in "So to Speak" and "Calliope," and she's a regular contributor to the flash-fiction sites Paragraph Planet and Doorknobs & Bodypaint. Once upon a time, she was the audience engagement editor at USA Today. Now she does other fun things that involve advertising, marketing and social media. The views expressed here and in other outlets are hers, not her clients'. Outside of work, she's proud to serve on the Northern Virginia Community College Marketing Advisory Committee. As a committee member, she joins industry leaders in lending their knowledge and expertise to ensure the college's Marketing curriculum is relevant and responsive to the needs of the students and the surrounding business communities.