“Mayhem” advertising for Allstate is my favorite campaign of 2010.

December 20, 2010

“I’m your favorite campaign.”

My opinion, the best advertising of 2010 is the “Mayhem” campaign for Allstate. Yes, I once worked at Leo Burnett but that just makes me happier and prouder making this choice. Besides, I like to think of myself as an early adapter to this campaign. Back in June I applauded the introduction of “Mayhem” even when others didn’t.

The others were wrong. Actor Dean Winters and his “Mayhem” character have already ensconced themselves into popular culture. And unlike other popular advertising characters (Can you say ‘Flo’ from Progressive?), Mayhem is smartly written and deftly produced. Some eight or ten spots later, not only does the campaign have legs but the work is getting better and better. Have you seen the holiday commercial? It’s hysterical.

I know there have been more famous marketing creations in 2010. Early on, Old Spice and Nike knocked campaigns out of the park. But those brands moved on. Mayhem, on the other hand, keeps on wreaking havoc, making it a big, enduring idea. The others, however brilliant, were one-offs. A solo homerun, no matter how far it’s hit, is still a one-point affair. (Granted, advertisers like Nike and Old Spice have demonstrated they are very capable of hitting numerous solo homeruns! As of this writing AOR for both brands, Wieden & Kennedy was deservedly selected agency of the year by Adweek.)

My one quibble: no Mayhem on Allstate’s website. Nor could I find any digital work highlighting Mayhem. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing. After all, Mayhem is what prompts us to buy insurance not where we go to buy it. Still, if the campaign wants to become the penultimate case study they’re going to want/need some digital credentials.

30 Responses to ““Mayhem” advertising for Allstate is my favorite campaign of 2010.”

  1. agree – i still love the mayhem work and him.

    i dug in and found this ….


    • SRP said

      I stand corrected re digital. Thank you for the link.

      • radioshower said

        Not sure a short montage video of the spots on a site or a basic Facebook page (with no engagement pieces) qualifies as a “digital credentials”. Still think Mayhem could be doing a lot better work online.

  2. brian said

    I concur.

    The campaign has grown on me. In fact, it just keeps getting better. (The spot where he plays a teen on the lawnmower is my favorite.)

  3. n said

    Mayhem is active on facebook.


    Some exclusive nuggets for Mayhem’s fans.

  4. Jason Fox said

    Love the “Mayhem” work, but I’ll throw my vote to Sony’s “Kevin Butler” campaign for the PS3. Like “Mayhem,” it shows how concept, writing and production can (and should but too often don’t) come together for brand-enhancing sweetness.

  5. Mike said

    As much as it pains me, I have to give praise to “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” work from W+K for Old Spice. The initial couple of spots were hysterical. They were also able to both poke fun at other ads in the category (read: Axe) and take Old Spice to a more relevant place. Not to mention, the consumer-interaction-driven digital that emerged months later was some of the most talked about and shared viral content on the web in 2010.

  6. JD said

    For me it has to be the John Jameson goes in after his barrel of whiskey. Gorgeously shot, original for the category and just plain awesome.

  7. JD said

    I don’t see why it couldn’t be a campaign. There’s plenty to play with conceptually.

  8. Madison said

    Out of left field, I will nominate 2010 Tide campaigns. According to NYT article on the subject, there 8 agencies working on their “Style is an option. Clean is not.” campaign, so it’s not clear who should take home honors.

    But my favorite TV spot is about a mother who stained a tshirt she borrowed from her daughter. Luckily Tide tablets took the dirt off and the tween is non wiser. The kicker is that the mother was out parting with her girl pals – nothing UNREALISTIC or too racy, just a suburbia version of Sex and City night out.

    I liked that it showed the benefit (clean clothes, super duper cleaning action) but took a woman out of a house a bit. It was refreshing (no grass stains and required football field shoots or completely silly CLOROX cleaning lab) and pictured a modern mom more likely to wear ‘JUICY’ sweats than hug clean towels with erotic abandonment.

    Most important, I did go and buy those mini tablets. Not sure though if they fully transformed me into a cool mom (like the one from Toyota’s Sienna online campaign).

  9. i liked that spot A LOT too BUT its gonna be hard to beat TIDE’s 2008 spot “talking stain”.

    i dig the DirecTV campaign but really it’s that one spot with actor doing a damned good viggo mortensen in “eastern promises” impersonation kissing his perfectly formed tiny giraffe. gets me EVERY time. it doesn’t however make me switch to DirecTV.

  10. PinkPalatian said

    Not a big fan of the mayhem ads. See http://blog.joedellosa.com/2010/09/some-of-allstates-mayhem-ads-are.html for a good summary as to why.

  11. W. Mills said

    Completely agree!
    While there have been tons of great spots this year, many of which have been mentioned here, this is easily the best campaign of the year!
    The acting is perfect, the writing amazingly sharp and original and the music spot on.
    Well done!

  12. Madison said

    my only gripe with Mayhem campaign is that the Mayhem guy is quite hot..I would even venture an idea that some women would not mind a visit from M. Mayhem..
    maybe All State should replace the hottie with someone more malicious..well, actually I WOULD be quite scared if the above mentioned DirectTV eccentric Eastern European business man talked about some ‘accidents’ that might happen to my car. ‘So you better insure yourself, comrade..you would NOT want some ekhm..ekhm… Mayhem happen to you, da???’

  13. Madison said

    I actually convinced coworkers to utilize the TIde ‘Talking Stain’ spot in the programming for students. It perfectly conveys the importance of clean outfit in a recruiting process.

  14. Susan said

    There is lots of digital for Mayhem. Check out the takeover of yahoomail.com today with some rich media. And on Mayhem’s Facebook page there is a tab called “Meet Mayhems” where you’ll find one of the rich media banners.

    • Christine Bock said

      Having worked on Allstate for many years at LeoB, I HATE the mayhem campaign. That actor is creepy, which means he’s doing his job, but I don’t like the scare tactics as a means to convince me to buy more insurance, or their insurance, for that matter.

  15. re: brian’s “get over yourself” in response to pink:
    hear hear!

    re: SRP’s response to Brian: hear hear!

    madison – yes dean winters is hot. so is the eastern euro mobster. hear hear!

  16. Madison said

    I say yay for all attractive men in commercials (Dean Winters, Antonio Banderas, of course Isaiah Mustafa)..nay for all those clueless ‘According to Jim’ types in commercials..
    Hoping for Dr. Travis Stork (of ‘The Bachelor’/The Doctors’ fame) to advertise Plavix while running shirtless on a beach…

  17. Mike Colt said

    As Leo once said ” I am not interested in selling insurance, I want to sell a policy”.

  18. […] writing about) so many quality campaigns coming out of my hometown, Chicago. First the exemplary Mayhem campaign from Leo Burnett. Followed by Secret’s timely and provocative meanstinks work from the […]

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