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Brand characters boost Allstate

News, 15 January 2016

MIAMI, FL: Allstate, the insurance provider, has successfully shown how engaging brand characters can help marketers reach diverse groups of consumers with nuanced messages.

Georgina Flores, Allstate's VP/Integrated Marketing Communications, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference.

More specifically, she drew attention to the long-term effectiveness of its "Mayhem" character – who is portrayed by actor Dean Winters, and vividly demonstrates the dangers of not being insured in the brand's communications.

Around five years ago, Allstate began to consider the applicability of this idea to Hispanic shoppers. "We thought, 'How can we extend this campaign into the Hispanic market?'" said Flores. (For more, including further details of the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Allstate reinterprets risks for multicultural audiences.)

And this investigation revealed some "interesting challenges" – including the fact the word "mayhem" did not have a definitive Spanish equivalent, and that the target audience held distinctive attitudes about the wider concept at play.

"We learned that Hispanics tend to not find fault with a person, but, rather, they blame circumstances, fate or bad luck when things happen," said Flores.

Reflecting these insights, Allstate introduced a new character – called "Mala Suerte" – who could convey its overall proposition in a different way to "Mayhem".

"Instead of impersonating a direct cause of an accident," Flores explained, "Mala Suerte personifies the unfortunate set of circumstances that created it."

As an indication of the flexibility of its approach, Allstate leveraged "Mala Suerte" at the 2014 World Cup by letting fans of one team send bad luck wishes to their rivals, as well as using the character in real-time digital interactions.

"We had the actual number-one trending hashtag during the opening match of the World Cup. It was a really big deal for us," Flores said in highlighting just one success from this initiative.

Data sourced from Warc