Dean Winters Plays Allstate’s Mayhem

By now, you’ve seen the commercials: a man in a business suit is in an unusual spot causing unexpected trouble.  But he isn’t just a wind storm, or a raccoon in the attic, or a malfunctioning GPS: he is Mayhem, Allstate Insurance’s newest and most popular spokesman.  Allstate’s Mayhem serves as a reminder that you can’t plan for the unexpected.

“Mayhem” is the anthropomorphic figure who causes chaos in your life.  The teenage girl who hits you because she’s texting behind the wheel? The blind spot where other cars hide?  The densely-packed snow that collapses you garage? It’s all Mayhem. And, as the spokesman tells us, if you have a bargain insurance policy from some other provider, you may end up paying out-of-pocket for these unforeseen expenses.  But who is Mayhem?

Dean Winters is the Man behind Allstate’s Mayhem

When Allstate launched this campaign in June of 2010, they chose seasoned actor Dean Winters for the title role.  Though he had previously appeared on television in “30 Rock,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Oz,” and “Rescue Me,” Allstate’s Mayhem is perhaps the most recognizable project to date for actor Dean Winters.  His character has become so closely tied to him that apparently even his mother calls him “Mayhem.”

Mayhem’s appeal is his humor which, unlike the punchline-driven ads of competitors, is an integral part of his character.  Dean Winters’ delivery is dry and to-the-point. He’s here to give you a warning, but in a hilarious and relatable way.  The original pitch for Mayhem was modeled after Mr. White from the film “Reservoir Dogs,” but his image was softened somewhat before he went to the small screen.  The character is still a little gritty, and in every ad he appears with a rip in his suit or a cut on his face, as though he is always coming directly from causing trouble elsewhere.

Allstate’s Mayhem as an Advertising Strategy

Given the success of GEICO’s cockney Gecko and Progressive’s quirky Flo, other companies were put on notice: humor, not numbers, is what catches people’s attention.  The Allstate Mayhem campaign was designed to appeal to a younger market – he reminds bargain-minded shoppers that coverage from “cut-rate” insurance companies isn’t always going to pay for the unexpected, and he does it in an amusing way.

Dean Winters’ Mayhem is one of the most popular car-insurance spokesmen in the industry right now, but the jury is still out on whether he is an effective salesman.  In a 2011 poll conducted by Lightspeed Research 65% of consumers recognized the Mayhem ads.  However, only 41% of consumers were able to associate the figure with Allstate Insurance.  Although the character is stuck in consumers’ minds, the brand isn’t.

Friend and Follow Allstate’s Mayhem

Fans of Mayhem can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter to keep up with the trouble he’s causing all around the world.  Mayhem’s posts are smart and funny, and he has over 1.7 million “likes” on Facebook and 57,000 followers on Twitter.  His competition, Flo from Progressive and the GEICO Gecko, also have a strong social media presence.  Flo has over 5 million Facebook likes but only 22,000 Twitter followers; the Gecko lags behind with 313,000 likes and 12,000 followers.  However, it is worth mentioning that neither Flo nor the Gecko’s pages have made us laugh out loud in the office.

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