Allstate Never Tested "Mayhem" Ads


When it comes time to make decisions regarding ad campaigns, advertisers tend to rely on the most complicated of epistemological methods of knowledge: empiricism (observation and research). Before they spend millions of dollars of their client's (or their own) money, they prefer to test ads to see how they'll resonate with audiences. They do this to appease their worried clients and bosses, who don't want to be held responsible for multi-million dollar campaigns that are deemed a failure. Ads that test successfully go out, while the ones that don't are sent back to the creative (and now disappointed) minds who dreamed them up in the first place.

Advertisers don't always rely on the painstaking process of research, however. Sometimes, they rely purely on intuition (their gut instincts). The advertisers of Allstate's in-house marketing arm relied on exactly that for their "Mayhem" ad campaign. Allstate's Senior Vice President of Marketing, Lisa Cochrane, talked about the wildly successful campaign at a meeting for the Association of National Advertisers, "I knew that 'Mayhem' was the right idea at the right time. I could feel it." The company did absolutely no surveys, focus groups, or experiments to justify running the campaign. They just did it, and it worked.

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