This article is an instalment of a three-part series. Catch up on our previous discussion here.
There’s a Malay saying that goes “malang tidak berbau,” which means you can’t “smell” mayhem. And you know it’s true because none of us can really expect the unexpected — that’s what insurance is for, right?
Now one might wonder, how do you translate that into an ad campaign that doesn’t look like another lifestyle spot with a tinge of insurance positioning, especially dealing with a subject that’s so grim and statistic heavy?
Enter Mayhem Is Everywhere, by Allstate Insurance (US).
In 2010, Leo Burnett pitched the idea of “Mr. Mayhem,” an ad campaign targeted towards its younger customers that focuses on a villainous character. Allstate Insurance wanted a campaign that featured a mischievous advertising character that acted as a common enemy for all, reminding consumers that protection matters.
From falling from two flights of stairs at home alone to being electrocuted while jacking up a car, Mayhem is the persona of any disaster that might befall anyone within Allstate Insurance’s target audience. At the end of every TV spot, Mayhem warns people of his destructive nature and the dangers of not having enough insurance coverage.
Boasting close to a whopping two million likes on his Facebook page, 59.9 thousand followers on Twitter, and 1,782 followers on Vine, Mayhem is the third most-recognised advertising character in the United States. But make no mistake; Mayhem is no one-dimensional mascot as he is brilliantly portrayed by none other than the versatile Dean Winters.
What can we learn from Mayhem’s social media success? Here are our favourite pieces from this witty campaign.
You can be as safe as you want on the road, but others may not. In October 2013, Mayhem shared with his Facebook fans a photo of himself pouring a large, “lava hot Triple Grande Mochaspresso” on his crotch while driving. This post lead up to the release of his new TV commercial:
In this brilliantly scripted TV spot, Mayhem manifests as a “filthy rich executive” and drives irresponsibly, causing an accident in a way it shouldn’t have — leaving you to pay for the damages of both parties. Just plain evil.
Twitter Debut: #TwitterMayhem
Despite the campaign being launched 4 years ago, Mayhem only joined Twitter in the fall of 2013. To announce his Twitter debut, Mayhem shared a video montage of all his best feats with his Facebook fans:
After that, he initiated his evil plan called #TwitterMayhem, where he attempted to crash Twitter by posting 447 tweets about whale facts to force the Fail Whale to appear (Fail Whale is Twitter’s error page when Twitter is overloaded).
While he didn’t succeed in crashing Twitter, Mayhem did receive a notification saying he had exceeded the daily tweet allotment. He chalked it up as a win for him anyways:
— Mayhem (@Mayhem) September 25, 2013
Many people responded to #TwitterMayhem, and within one week Mayhem gained over ten thousand followers! However, he does not tweet consistently so as not to overexpose Mayhem to the general public. Talk about smart social media management.
Tailgate Grill Fire
— Mayhem (@Mayhem) October 3, 2013
On his Twitter account, Mayhem polled a question to his followers about what he should portray in his next TV spot — a tailgate grill or a cheap bungee cord? While most of his followers voted for bungee cord, Mayhem went against the majority decision. The result is the following TV spot:
Why conform to what your viewers want to see when you can show them how they have no control over what could happen? Mayhem’s response itself was the very embodiment of the reason why the audience should get insurance coverage; in short … you can’t predict mayhem so you better have a safety net!
The Mayhem success story is one proving that it’s definitely possible to sell a product without ever talking about it. At no point did they have to talk about Allstate insurance or ask the audience to give them a call, like other insurance companies. From day one till the latest feats of the campaign, the creative team evidently went all out in doing things differently.
If there’s one thing we must learn from this social media anti-villain, it’s to interact with social media followers without breaking the personality that has been established in the campaign. Every post that Mayhem shares are from his perspective, and this adds to the believability of the character, resulting in the believability of the dangers Allstate Insurance can protect us from.
Be sure to watch this space for the final instalment of our How To Win At Social Media next week.
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