Allstate’s “Blind Spot”: Now Playing at Local Theatres?

Theatre Billboards: Mixing Media for Impact

Being a Visualizer I’m of course a movie buff, attending several movies a week. Recently I saw this billboard in the coming attractions section at the theatre featuring upcoming movies. It stopped me in my tracks. It featured Dean Winters, the loveable character in Leo Burnett Chicago’s “Mayhem” ads for Allstate, launched in the summer of 2010. The campaign demonstrates what can happen if you pay too little for insurance. It also shows the power of intentionally mixing your media selection for added impact so the campaign doesn’t “burn out” due to over saturation with a single medium. This works whether you’re selling auto insurance or flying banners over beaches to promote Noxzema Skin Cream. (See later.)

Dean Winters’ Mayhem

Dean Winters has been in dozens of movies and TV series. One of my favorites is his appearance (spring of 2010) on 30 Rock as Denny Duffy, Tina Fey’s somewhat irresponsible boyfriend who she eventually dumped. (He fared better playing Charley Dixon, Sarah Connor’s love interest in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.) But Winters’ experience with Mayhem isn’t confined to advertising. He’s played the part in real life.

Dean Winters’ Own World of Mayhem

Art Imitating Life

Winters has suffered major mayhem in his life, not just on the TV screen. In 2009 he almost died after shooting a Happy Town pilot. He contracted a bacterial infection and collapsed at his doctor’s office. His heart stopped beating for 2 ½ minutes until paramedics were able to revive him. Soon afterward he contracted gangrene which required the amputation of two toes and part of a thumb. This was followed by 10 subsequent operations. Talk about mayhem!

“Noxzema, the Pain Chiller”

When I was the Senior Account exec on the Noxzema Skin Cream account at Lintas/SSC&B Advertising, New York, we intentionally mixed up the media for added impact. One year it was TV. The next it was women’s magazines with TV. Another time it was local radio, magazines and aerial advertising where we had airplanes flying over beaches during the summer towing billboards promoting sunburn usage, “Noxzema. The Pain Chiller.” It worked. Share of market continued to increase which attracted P&G’s interest and led to a big bucks purchase of Noxell Corporation.

I sent this to an old friend, and terrific copywriter, Peter Caroline, who had another Mayhem story involving Santa Clause. See below.

I had to laugh when you mentioned ill-fated aerial advertising. When I was working at Hargood Associates back in the 1960s, one of our clients was Natick Mall. The client’s marketing guy was looking for some sort of unique Christmas promotion event. I suggested, Santa parachuting into the parking lot. The client went pale, and said, “Don’t you ever mention that again!” It turned out that some years before, he had worked at a mall in Long Island, NY, that had tried a similar stunt. Santa’s chute didn’t open, and he went splat in the mall parking lot. Half the kids in attendance were traumatized for life. The other half wanted Santa to do it again!





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