One of Allstate’s “mayhem” ads.
Allstate’s “mayhem” ad campaign won “Best of Show” at the Chicago ADDY awards Thursday night, the first such awards given out here in about a decade.
In the mayhem campaign, actor Dean Winters portrays all of the obstacles that unlikely events that can lead to a major insurance claim, like a team pennant tearing loose from a pick-up truck, a distracted teen mowing the lawn or a Christmas tree falling on your car’s roof during a rainstorm.
The campaign was created by Leo Burnett in Chicago, Northbrook-based Allstate’s creative agency since 1957. (That has to be some kind of record.) It was meant to take on “cut-rate” rivals, suggesting that these cheaper policies may not cover such “mayhem.”
Leo Burnett executive vice president Nina Abnee put its mission more bluntly to Advertising Age: “We wanted to kick Flo’s ass” — Flo being the perky saleswoman in Progressive’s ads.
The campaign took just a few months to produce because the team eschewed any pre-release testing and ran with their gut, said Allstate senior vice president for marketing Lisa Cochrane.
“If you copy test, you will come to the lowest common denominator,” Cochrane said. Or as Mikal Pittman, a creative director on the campaign put it, chimed in: “You’ll get the most vanilla advertising.”