Ed, Dennis and Mayhem, Allstate's Super Ad-Men
The Many Trusted Spokesmen Of Allstate Insurance
DISCLAIMER: This is not an endorsement for Allstate Insurance. And not a paid endorsement for Allstate Insurance. I am not an Allstate customer. This is not a knock on this fine, American insurance icon. I use another insurance company. This is, a personal observation of the evolution of spokesmen that have 'went to bat,' for Allstate Insurance over the years and what they, the spokesmen, have been able to do for Allstate Insurance. Thank you for your indulgence. (KENNETH AVERY).
"You're in good hands with Allstate," says, or said, actor and spokesman, Ed Reimers, who for many years, was 'the face' of Allstate Insurance. With his stately gray hair, stone-faced features, he made us feel secure in trusting Allstate Insurance with all of our insurance needs. Isn't that what a spokesman, or woman, is supposed to do? Sell the product? Reimers did just that as Allstate's television ads were seen as sponsors on the hottest, most-popular shows. And there he'd be, holding his hand together at the end of each ad reassuring us with his Moses-like voice that we, our homes, lives, and cars would be fine if we bought Allstate Insurance.
Why was Ed Reimers so proficient as being Allstate's spokesman? One word. Trust. He had the face that could be trusted. Always clean-shaven. Gently smiling, but not too wide because Allstate didn't want him to come off looking like a cheesy used car salesman from somewhere in Texas. Allstate wanted an icon. A staple of American manhood. Enter Ed Reimers. I wonder, now looking back, if Allstate ever approached John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart to be their point men? What a stroke of advertising genius that would have been. "The Duke," rides up to a fence and says, "Pilgrim, they're a lot of insurance companies out there, and some you can't trust. But take my word, John Wayne, Allstate can be your best buddy in the insurance business. Good day." And Wayne tips his ten-gallon (white, good guy) hat and rides off.
Now you tell me. Would that not have made Allstate sales hit the ceiling like a Pepsi that had been shaken before opening? You bet it would. Wayne was America. His word was law. His face and demeanor meant trust. So did that of Ed Reimers who not only looked like someone's grandpa, but was someone's grandpa, who sat in his den many times reflecting about life's many mysteries while his wife would gently say, "Eddie, dear. Time for dinner," then Ed would smile to himself. And go to dinner to tell his wife about that day's filming of another Allstate ad.
That was then. This is now. Ed Reimers, Allstate, you or I, couldn't have foreseen from the placid 1950s to the stormy future that was coming head-on to the insurance industry. If that were possible for me to do, I wouldn't be here writing a story about insurance spokesmen, but sitting down to a tasty, expensive dinner with Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, somewhere in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. But sadly, and begrudgingly, I am but a fleshly mortal and can only do what a fleshly mortal can do. Live the life I've been dealt and do the best I can.
But what a few years can mean by way of change to the once-quiet and obscure insurance business. Time was, and I recall this fondly, when our insurance agent, a Mr. Willard Clark, a sharp-dresser and a gift for gab, would visit my parents once a month, exchange niceties, get our payment for insurance coverage, tell a joke or two, shake hands with my dad, and leave. That was it.
Not anymore. Today 2011 sees the insurance industry at war with itself in television, newspaper and radio ads with one company promising more coverage for less money, while other companies tell us that the cheaper companies will be our doom and humiliation if we buy insurance from them and during all this barrage of ads, some green reptile with a foreign accent and a comic caveman is preaching to me that "fifteen minutes can save me fifteen percent" on car insurance and that "it's so easy that a caveman can do it." Whom can you believe? A better question is whom can you trust?
Honestly. Sincerely. This is not a knock on the companies who swear by a green reptile or resentful caveman, but my personal favorite insurance spokesman is "Mayhem," the new insurance icon from Allstate Insurance. That's his name, "Mayhem."
Let's look at "Mayhem," for a moment. Who is this character who's talents range from sitting on a housetop as a television satellite that's loose and falls on top of your car to a hot babe out for a run and you, a customer of some cut-rate insurance (not my words, but Allstate's), can as "Mayhem," advises you with a wink, "could be paying for this (wreck) yourself," and jobs off with his pink headband in plain sight.
"Mayhem," is the brainstorm of Mark Schaschwary and another Allstate Insurance Company employee who took a chance on submitting ideas for a contest to name a new Allstate ad front man and from submissions from over 900 employees, Schwaschwary and his partner won. Hands down with their idea of having actor, Dean Winters, "Mayhem's," secret identity, be shown as a raccoon in someone's attic--happy to be tearing out the insulation and wiring just to tell you that "your" current insurance may not help you pay for the damages.
Genius. This idea was genius. In the same catergory as microwave popcorn and the hula hoop. At first, when I saw the very-first ad with "Mayhem," it wasn't that funny. A man dressed in a black suit with an emotionless-expression hitting a car with another car and walking away. Or riding a pick-up truck as the truck owner's college banner and the tearing off to blind the view of a driver with cheap insurance and telling them that Allstate would be their best bet. It was hilarious. Seeing Winters, a veteran actor, now in his new and possibly more-famous and lucrative career as "Mayhem," the Allstate rep that we all, well, not all, but most of us love to see on television. I say that because it takes a lot to be loved by one-hundred percent of any country or nation. But speaking strictly for myself, "I love 'Mayhem,' and his various roles to sell Allstate Insurance.
But when Dean Winters, a/k/a "Mayhem," is not talking about Allstate, there is Dennis Haysbert, six foot, four inch tall, muscular and deep-voiced actor who made his fame on CBS' hit series, The Unit, where he starred as Jonas Blane, and Robert "Col. Tom Ryan" Patrick, leaders of a secret unit of special forces soldiers who defused dangerous situations that threatened national security. The Unit and their members did their work mostly in foreign countries. CBS, for some reason, cancelled this popular series. I guess because Alex O'Loughlin, their favorite actor, was busy being a "one-man show," on Hawaii Five-O.
Haysbert, to all with sharp memories, co-starred alongside of then-employed, Charlie "Two And A Half Men" Sheen in a blockbuster movie, Navy Seals that was very popular. For a while. Haysbert was also Pedro Cerrano in the 1989 movie-hit, Major League that also starred Tom Berenger and Corbin Bernsen. Yes, Dennis Haysbert has been around. And become as popular, almost, as Dean Winters, the "Mayhem" character. In my humble opinion.
My question is this, to all non-customers of Allstate: Be realistic. Of Ed Reimers, rest his soul, Dean "Mayhem" Winters, Dennis "The Unit" Haysbert, a green, foreign-tongued reptile, or a comical caveman, whom would you trust with your money to get your home, car, property, motorcycle and RV covered? Oh yeah, that reminds me. Include a humorously-attractive insurance spokesperson, "Flo," in your choices of insurance companies.
Tough, isn't it? You could even say a 'mayhem,' when it comes to deciding.
MAYHEM'S CURRENT TV AD
knows how to sell insurance
- With believable spokesmen
- With 'trusting' celebrities
- With in-your-face ad campaigns
- With honest advertising