Oklahoma City Ad Club - Mayhem

Has there ever been a more loved bad guy than Mayhem?

 
 

You're in your car and need to change lanes. You think you're clear and you start to move over. The sound of crunching metal informs you that you're not. Cleverly concealed in your blind spot was a pickup truck. Mayhem strikes again.

Or your car is parked under a tree during a bad windstorm. Or there's too much snow piled on your roof. Or your cleaning lady falls down your stairs. As Allstate's brilliant ad campaign states, Mayhem is everywhere.

But how did an advertising campaign for an insurance company become an icon of pop culture?

I recently attended the Oklahoma City Ad Club's monthly luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center. Allstate Associate Marketing Manager Brooke Aslesen and Leo Burnett SVP/Account Director David Brot presented the Method Behind Mayhem. Together, they detailed the why and how behind Mayhem and how it helped to increase Allstate's brand recognition, market share, and bottom line.

Mayhem was a response to the massive campaigns started by Progressive and GEICO in the mid-2000s. How massive? In span of just four years, Progressive and GEICO together were outspending the entire insurance segment combined. Their ads were funny and aimed at a younger segment of the population who might be okay taking the risk of bargain insurance. Allstate and Leo Burnett decided they needed to counter without sacrificing the quality of the insurance they offer. They needed a way to communicate that in the long run, you could pay more by having shoddy insurance; that the real savings was buying from Allstate.

 
 

To get that message out, they had to fight for attention in a market filled with their competitor's ads. They needed something bold and edgy; something that illustrated the perils of cut-rate insurance in an entertaining and memorable way. And they needed to do so without shelling out the massive dollars their competitors were. So, they put out  a search through their creative networks to find a fresh take on the market.

I was surprised to learn that even a big advertising firm such as Leo Burnett would go deep into the freelance market for ideas. The genesis of Mayhem came from a small group of recently graduated BYU marketing students. It's a great lesson on keeping your eyes and ears open and not getting caught up in pedigree or experience. Great ideas can come from anywhere.

What makes the Mayhem concept a great idea? It's instantly relatable. By personifying the slip ups, mistakes, and accidents in life, the commercial connects with real life circumstances that either you or someone you know has experienced. But it's also intriguing. The moment Mayhem, actor Dean Winters, appears on screen and says "I'm a ______" we are hooked. We know something is not right with the situation and that something is about to go very wrong. The other shoe is about to drop but we don't know how it will end up. But we most definitely want to see that other shoe drop. And when it does, we laugh. And as we're laughing, Allstate is able to bring their message home:

This can happen to you and our insurance will protect you when it does.

This is Great Story Telling 101. It's why, when Mayhem flashes on screen, we get excited. We know that we are about to be entertained. And in the back of our minds, we carve out a space for Allstate as a company capable of delivering quality and value to us. And that's Marketing 101...

Not surprisingly, every aspect of the Mayhem campaign was painstakingly crafted until it was perfect. Casting took several weeks instead of the typical day or two. Ms. Aslesen pointed out almost every word in every spot is debated until the copy is right. Mayhem even has rules! He can't do things that, if a person did, would be regarded as malicious (such as an unaired ad where Mayhem is your angry-ex destroying your car).

 
 

And this brings us to another point. Allstate needed a game changer to compete in an advertising landscape radically shifted by their competitors. But they didn't panic. They didn't rush out with four different campaigns, throw them on television, and match Progressive and GEICO dollar for dollar. They carefully considered the target audience they wanted to reach and how best to communicate their message to them.

They communicated with clarity not volume. 

Effective story-telling takes time to craft. But when done right, you can cut through the wall of noise and delivery clarity and value to your target audience. They will appreciate you and your message because you will have delivered relatable material that they will value. And when it's time to make the purchasing decision, they'll think of you first.

Mayhem is a brilliant example of this. To date, Mayhem has 1.7 million Facebook likes and 56,600 followers on Twitter (since the end of September). A character from an insurance company is racing towards 2 million likes on Facebook and 100,000 followers on Twitter. Do you think it's because people love buying insurance? 

Not a chance. It's because people love great story-telling. Businesses who deploy great story-telling will reap the rewards Allstate has. Since Mayhem debuted, Allstate has seen increases in market share, brand recognition and engagement, and most importantly increased revenue.

How's that for a great story?

Patrick Kirk

No one knows the exact day Patrick Kirk was born, because he was carried into town by a pack of wild coyotes, but the end of March seems to have some consensus built around it. The townsfolk hadn’t much need for a coyote-raised wild boy seein’ as they already had a town idiot. So, they set Patrick off with the next traveling circus that rolled through town. It was there that the young boy learned of books and math and writing and other cultural offerings from Martha, the kindly old bearded lady, and her husband, Harold, the world’s tallest midget. In between shows, he would explore each new town, never having the chance to make friends with children his age, mostly because they didn’t speak coyote… However, it was on one such trek in his later teen years that Patrick happened upon a small cinema playing an engagement of Major League II. From then on, he knew that he must dedicate his life to motion pictures. The members of the circus were sad to see him go, some angry calling cinema ‘beneath them’, but Patrick took his leave and headed off to university to study the filmic arts. Over nearly half a decade of study, Patrick learned from notables such as Fritz Kiersch, director of Children of the Corn, and Gray Fredrickson, producer of the Godfather Trilogy. Patrick has worked locally in the Oklahoma City market as a grip, camera operator, and editor. He has directed a number of short films and commercial projects and aspires to do more. When not in the editing suite or on set, Patrick can be found relaxing at local sporting events or playing a round of golf. He is particularly fond of poker and has been known to frequent the local casinos. Patrick also experiments with cooking and can make a mean batch of tacos. Among things he still would like to accomplish, Patrick hopes to fly to the moon one day and get into an old fashioned pistols at dawn duel; preferably both at the same time.

Wichita Mountain Blues

Oklahoma has mountains, in case you didn't know... 

 
 

I finally got the chance to do an overnight stay on a video trip! I actually booked two separate jobs for the Army base at Ft. Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. When they scheduled back to back shoots, I knew I could stay down there and play around in the Wichita Mountains and shoot some footage-something that I've always wanted to do.

The Wichita Mountains aren't big. They've been worn down over many millennia. One of my favorite things about Oklahoma is the varied geography. There are many places that, if someone just dropped you there and asked you to name what state you were in, you wouldn't be able to name where you were. The Wichita Mountains are one of those places. It feels like the idyllic Old West from a Hollywood movie. There are buffalo but they are a bit camera shy. The prairie dogs, who are not camera shy, have their own turnout and you can park right next to them. I didn't get the chance to go that far into the reserve, but I will in a later visit.

The drive up Mount Scott is amazing. There are several turnouts on the way up. The view from the top is a wonderful change of pace from the rolling hills and plains of Central Oklahoma. Again, the rock formations, wild flowers, and cacti make it feel more like the Southwest than the plains. 

When you're done exploring the Wichitas, head up to Meers for a hamburger and check out the seismographs. Believe it or not, Oklahoma is seismically active.

Patrick Kirk

No one knows the exact day Patrick Kirk was born, because he was carried into town by a pack of wild coyotes, but the end of March seems to have some consensus built around it. The townsfolk hadn’t much need for a coyote-raised wild boy seein’ as they already had a town idiot. So, they set Patrick off with the next traveling circus that rolled through town. It was there that the young boy learned of books and math and writing and other cultural offerings from Martha, the kindly old bearded lady, and her husband, Harold, the world’s tallest midget. In between shows, he would explore each new town, never having the chance to make friends with children his age, mostly because they didn’t speak coyote… However, it was on one such trek in his later teen years that Patrick happened upon a small cinema playing an engagement of Major League II. From then on, he knew that he must dedicate his life to motion pictures. The members of the circus were sad to see him go, some angry calling cinema ‘beneath them’, but Patrick took his leave and headed off to university to study the filmic arts. Over nearly half a decade of study, Patrick learned from notables such as Fritz Kiersch, director of Children of the Corn, and Gray Fredrickson, producer of the Godfather Trilogy. Patrick has worked locally in the Oklahoma City market as a grip, camera operator, and editor. He has directed a number of short films and commercial projects and aspires to do more. When not in the editing suite or on set, Patrick can be found relaxing at local sporting events or playing a round of golf. He is particularly fond of poker and has been known to frequent the local casinos. Patrick also experiments with cooking and can make a mean batch of tacos. Among things he still would like to accomplish, Patrick hopes to fly to the moon one day and get into an old fashioned pistols at dawn duel; preferably both at the same time.

Ads We Love: Butter + Love

Caution! You might fall in love with this one... 

 
 

From: Butter + Love | Agency: Show & Tell

Why It's Cool: 

A girl from Kansas goes to New York City to pursue a Broadway career and winds up with a growing business baking cookies in the heart of Brooklyn.

Why We Love It: 

It's simply without being fussy. Just like the cookies. In the first minute, you feel like you've known Alison for years. Her story is one of dreams and winding paths that take you not where you set out to go, but where you were meant to go. As we saw with Founder's Brewing, the filmmakers deploy subtle techniques to allow Butter + Love's story to flourish.

What You Can Learn From It: 

Life is full of twists and turns. You likely didn't arrive where you are in your business by following a straight line (but if you did, that's cool too). However, those twists and turns can help you weave your story into the fabric of the community around you.

Patrick Kirk

No one knows the exact day Patrick Kirk was born, because he was carried into town by a pack of wild coyotes, but the end of March seems to have some consensus built around it. The townsfolk hadn’t much need for a coyote-raised wild boy seein’ as they already had a town idiot. So, they set Patrick off with the next traveling circus that rolled through town. It was there that the young boy learned of books and math and writing and other cultural offerings from Martha, the kindly old bearded lady, and her husband, Harold, the world’s tallest midget. In between shows, he would explore each new town, never having the chance to make friends with children his age, mostly because they didn’t speak coyote… However, it was on one such trek in his later teen years that Patrick happened upon a small cinema playing an engagement of Major League II. From then on, he knew that he must dedicate his life to motion pictures. The members of the circus were sad to see him go, some angry calling cinema ‘beneath them’, but Patrick took his leave and headed off to university to study the filmic arts. Over nearly half a decade of study, Patrick learned from notables such as Fritz Kiersch, director of Children of the Corn, and Gray Fredrickson, producer of the Godfather Trilogy. Patrick has worked locally in the Oklahoma City market as a grip, camera operator, and editor. He has directed a number of short films and commercial projects and aspires to do more. When not in the editing suite or on set, Patrick can be found relaxing at local sporting events or playing a round of golf. He is particularly fond of poker and has been known to frequent the local casinos. Patrick also experiments with cooking and can make a mean batch of tacos. Among things he still would like to accomplish, Patrick hopes to fly to the moon one day and get into an old fashioned pistols at dawn duel; preferably both at the same time.

Ads We Love: Founders Brewing

Telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth... 

 
 

From Founders Brewing | Production Company: Eskimo 

Why It's Cool: 

Beer. Craft Beer, that is. Craft Beer is in, and it's a good thing too. Craft Beer is a democratic response to lackluster mass-produced store shelf libations. The local brewery movement has produced some stellar beers and shifted the landscape. It's a natural extension of the keep it local movements. Why get something that's mass produced by a corporate conglomerate when you can buy it local and hand crafted from your neighbor?

Why We Love It:

The owners of Founders have a compelling story. It's a relatable situation to countless small business owners. The shot selection and editing style don't get in the way but rather makes Founders accessible to the audience. A deft touch can be the difference between connecting with the audience or turning them away.

What You Can Learn From It: 

Being bold in your video production doesn't always mean epic shots, big music, and high-concept. This video is bold because they chose to tell you their whole story, warts and all. They made mistakes and it had pushed their business to the brink. But out of that moment came the courage to turn their business around and make the kind of beers that they are known for today. Their hardship was a crucial part of their story. By sharing their struggles, they relate to their customers and their customers get to share with them the satisfaction of overcoming those struggles. When you relate to customers on that level, they begin rooting for you. And rooting is the manifestation of loyalty.

Patrick Kirk

No one knows the exact day Patrick Kirk was born, because he was carried into town by a pack of wild coyotes, but the end of March seems to have some consensus built around it. The townsfolk hadn’t much need for a coyote-raised wild boy seein’ as they already had a town idiot. So, they set Patrick off with the next traveling circus that rolled through town. It was there that the young boy learned of books and math and writing and other cultural offerings from Martha, the kindly old bearded lady, and her husband, Harold, the world’s tallest midget. In between shows, he would explore each new town, never having the chance to make friends with children his age, mostly because they didn’t speak coyote… However, it was on one such trek in his later teen years that Patrick happened upon a small cinema playing an engagement of Major League II. From then on, he knew that he must dedicate his life to motion pictures. The members of the circus were sad to see him go, some angry calling cinema ‘beneath them’, but Patrick took his leave and headed off to university to study the filmic arts. Over nearly half a decade of study, Patrick learned from notables such as Fritz Kiersch, director of Children of the Corn, and Gray Fredrickson, producer of the Godfather Trilogy. Patrick has worked locally in the Oklahoma City market as a grip, camera operator, and editor. He has directed a number of short films and commercial projects and aspires to do more. When not in the editing suite or on set, Patrick can be found relaxing at local sporting events or playing a round of golf. He is particularly fond of poker and has been known to frequent the local casinos. Patrick also experiments with cooking and can make a mean batch of tacos. Among things he still would like to accomplish, Patrick hopes to fly to the moon one day and get into an old fashioned pistols at dawn duel; preferably both at the same time.

Ads We Love: 1960s IBM Clock

Can something as simple as a clock tell a compelling story?

 
 

From Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. | Agency/Production Company: Four + One Productions

Why it's cool:

We are lovers of nostalgia at Indian Head. The story of this clock reminds us of our time in grade school when a similar styled (though not as great) clock adorned the wall in each of our classes. The soft hum of the second hand sweeping through time was often the loudest thing in the room during a test. And that test was the last thing between you and after-school cartoons. Unless you count the neighbor's scary dog at your bus stop... 

Why we love it:

From a simple, minimalist designed clock is crafted a compelling story. The clock is shot from subtlety heroic angles to open the piece. The filmmaking piques your curiosity and makes you feel like there is something more to this clock. The narrative works to tie the story of the clock to the story of our everyday lives. It reminds us that, often, the small things done well are what make the difference.

What you can learn from it:

Everything has a story, even something ordinary like a clock. Listing a product's features and functionality can win you a sale. Giving it a story that allows a customer to connect to it can win you repeat business long after someone builds a better clock. In your video, focus on telling your product or business's story as well as what your product and business can do for your customers.

/Source

Patrick Kirk

No one knows the exact day Patrick Kirk was born, because he was carried into town by a pack of wild coyotes, but the end of March seems to have some consensus built around it. The townsfolk hadn’t much need for a coyote-raised wild boy seein’ as they already had a town idiot. So, they set Patrick off with the next traveling circus that rolled through town. It was there that the young boy learned of books and math and writing and other cultural offerings from Martha, the kindly old bearded lady, and her husband, Harold, the world’s tallest midget. In between shows, he would explore each new town, never having the chance to make friends with children his age, mostly because they didn’t speak coyote… However, it was on one such trek in his later teen years that Patrick happened upon a small cinema playing an engagement of Major League II. From then on, he knew that he must dedicate his life to motion pictures. The members of the circus were sad to see him go, some angry calling cinema ‘beneath them’, but Patrick took his leave and headed off to university to study the filmic arts. Over nearly half a decade of study, Patrick learned from notables such as Fritz Kiersch, director of Children of the Corn, and Gray Fredrickson, producer of the Godfather Trilogy. Patrick has worked locally in the Oklahoma City market as a grip, camera operator, and editor. He has directed a number of short films and commercial projects and aspires to do more. When not in the editing suite or on set, Patrick can be found relaxing at local sporting events or playing a round of golf. He is particularly fond of poker and has been known to frequent the local casinos. Patrick also experiments with cooking and can make a mean batch of tacos. Among things he still would like to accomplish, Patrick hopes to fly to the moon one day and get into an old fashioned pistols at dawn duel; preferably both at the same time.

Ads We Love: Dollar Shave Club

How to make shaving cool again:

 
 

From Dollar Shave Club | Agency/Production Company: Paulilu 

Why it's cool:

Frank talk, well-placed expletives, dancing bears, and 'Merica! 

Why we love it:

The history of advertising razor blades follows this simple formula: get a pro athlete, have him shave, show a graphic comparing your razor to your competitors, finish with an attractive woman feeling the pro athlete's face. Dollar Shave Club is a prime example of doing the exact opposite of what your competition is doing. They broke from their industry's mold with gusto. 

What you can learn from it:

Be proud of your brand, how it came to be, and what it can do for your customers. We as a country have a love for pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps entrepreneurs. We take pride in patronizing companies with those types of stories. That's almost every small business in America. Use that sense of pride to your advantage.

Patrick Kirk

No one knows the exact day Patrick Kirk was born, because he was carried into town by a pack of wild coyotes, but the end of March seems to have some consensus built around it. The townsfolk hadn’t much need for a coyote-raised wild boy seein’ as they already had a town idiot. So, they set Patrick off with the next traveling circus that rolled through town. It was there that the young boy learned of books and math and writing and other cultural offerings from Martha, the kindly old bearded lady, and her husband, Harold, the world’s tallest midget. In between shows, he would explore each new town, never having the chance to make friends with children his age, mostly because they didn’t speak coyote… However, it was on one such trek in his later teen years that Patrick happened upon a small cinema playing an engagement of Major League II. From then on, he knew that he must dedicate his life to motion pictures. The members of the circus were sad to see him go, some angry calling cinema ‘beneath them’, but Patrick took his leave and headed off to university to study the filmic arts. Over nearly half a decade of study, Patrick learned from notables such as Fritz Kiersch, director of Children of the Corn, and Gray Fredrickson, producer of the Godfather Trilogy. Patrick has worked locally in the Oklahoma City market as a grip, camera operator, and editor. He has directed a number of short films and commercial projects and aspires to do more. When not in the editing suite or on set, Patrick can be found relaxing at local sporting events or playing a round of golf. He is particularly fond of poker and has been known to frequent the local casinos. Patrick also experiments with cooking and can make a mean batch of tacos. Among things he still would like to accomplish, Patrick hopes to fly to the moon one day and get into an old fashioned pistols at dawn duel; preferably both at the same time.