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For when I need more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing, media or message.

Allstate’s Mayhem: A study in car maintenance

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest as a marketing student in advertising and social media marketing. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers. No agencies or products are endorsed.
 

 

You know you need new wiper blades, so why don’t you take 10 minutes to replace them?

 
It’s an irritating task that we never do when we’re supposed to, and the ad folks for Allstate (Nasdaq: ALL) know this. So in a new 30-second ad, posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, Allstate’s Mayhem is our worn-out wiper blades that leave us defenseless against the torrential downpour we’re guaranteed to encounter just hours after we say to ourselves, “I need new wiper blades.”

Worn-out wiper blades represent a self-imposed risk we take when we procrastinate, a mark of our stupidity — not necessarily Mayhem in its truest form.

But when we look at the Mayhem ads with a more critical eye, we see they’re funny and engaging, but nothing that happens is really devastating. A kitchen fire is kinda funny. A dryer fire? Hilarious. And really, who among us doesn’t love it when a drunk football fan runs in front of our car? No, Mayhem isn’t that ominous, which is why the character Dean Winters portrays is a great product character: He sells insurance that is supposed to help us when shit happens — without making us fear the possibilities of kitchen and dryer fires, or bad referees who run screaming from the stadium.

You all know this stuff, and it’s obvious that I do. That’s why this is my last post on the Mayhem character. What began as a roundup of clever ads that caught my gnat-size attention evolved into an experiment in search-engine optimization that ultimately hijacked this blog and its theme: I ended up focusing solely on funny advertisements, and even then, I wasn’t able to write about them as critically or in-depth as I would have liked. As it happens, my time is to blog is very limited these days, and I can’t spend it writing about Mayhem. I’m grateful to Allstate and the users of YouTube (and Facebook) for all of your support, but it’s past time for me to focus on other campaigns, other marketing elements. (That last part is code for: I’m ready to geek out over product packaging and placement! Who’s with me?)

That said, I’ll conclude this post like I’ve concluded the other Mayhem posts, with a nod to Mayhem’s popularity: At 6:30 p.m., about five hours after it was posted on Facebook, the video had 8747 likes 232 comments, and 773 shares.The timestamp on YouTube says the video was posted Sept. 26, 2012; as of 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27, there were 341 views, 0 likes and 0 comments — but it was early still.
 

EARLIER: A roundup of 2011 Mayhem commercials

 
AGENCY: 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 employers'. 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.

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