I typically dislike it when creatives use the negative to sell a product, as often times the ideas aren’t as sophisticated and rely on immature or brash imagery and tone to share a message. It can be funny, sure, but also can leave a neutral or sour taste about the brand. The Mayhem character is not a new one to the advertising world; bad guys who are stopped by the advertised product have definitely been successful in the past. It just seems that a great example of such a technique hasn’t appeared in a while.
What I find especially successful about this campaign is a combination of well thought-out factors. One, the casting couldn’t have been more spot on. Dean Winters—from shows like Oz and 30 Rock—really epitomizes the Mayhem persona. He wears a suit but looks like he just got out of a bar fight. He’s calm and straightforward about the destruction he causes and that matter-of-factness really hits home—especially when Winters literally hits homes. Or cars. Or motorcycles.
Also, the messaging across the series changes slightly and covers not only the different types of insurance you can buy and how they can work together, but all the different arguments on why not to trust your possessions to the “cut-rate” and “15-minute” competition. A nice way to cover all the brief’s bullet points without overloading each individual spot, as well as jab at the other companies involved in the insurance wars.
And finally, the writing and art direction is just great. The vignettes have the perfect mixture of insurance sales points and story, and are precisely seasoned with humor and wit to make just about every one a piece you’ll laugh at.
Not sure how much longer Leo Burnett and Allstate can keep this campaign going, but as long as it continues with the amount of steam it still has a year after its inception, I’ll keep looking forward to the next one. Below is the most recent spot, as well as a selection of my favorites from the campaign so far. Well done.