Villing & Company

You Talking to Me? Allstate's "Mayhem" Takes Familiar Product to New Audience

I love Mayhem. That is, I love the Allstate Insurance campaign in which actor Dean Winters personifies life's unexpected – and costly – events. (Personal fave: "Lawn Game Mayhem.")

More than just incredibly good creative work, to me the campaign shows the company is shifting its target to a younger audience – something I noticed rival State Farm doing last year. With a younger target, it makes sense for the messaging to focus on the "why" of insurance, not the "what."

That's in contrast to the Dennis Haysbert line of Allstate ads, which tend to focus on specific product features in addition to the problems they address (like this ad for the company's new car restoration policy).

Allstate currently uses both concepts in its advertising. Haysbert provides some voiceover work for the Mayhem spots, but other than his familiar voice, there is not much that would make it clear both campaigns are for the same company. It's rare for a company to use two concepts at once that seem so vastly different. And not everyone is sold it's a plan that works.

Still, it's a reminder that, just as goods and services can appeal to more than one kind of consumer, so can the advertising used to promote them. In the case of insurance, some consumers may resonate with an irreverent reminder that the unpredictability of life makes protection necessary. Others may know this all too well, and are looking for information on what kind of insurance to buy.

Of course, a company the size of Allstate has the resources to run ads that reach consumers at different points of the buying process. But it's worth a look for brands of any size to see if there are untapped audiences that would be receptive to a different kind of marketing message. If you're a marketer, make 2011 the year you find a new selling point for your product and get the word out to an audience you've not yet reached. It will sharpen your skills - and may be the "insurance" you need against leaving income on the table in the new year.

Filed Under: creative

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