Allstate’s Mayhem Sold The Entire Contents Of This Couple’s House While They Were At The Sugar Bowl

In a campaign some dismiss as fear-mongering, the insurance provider highlights the risks of being burglarized because thieves use social media to see who's not home.

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During the Allstate Sugar Bowl last week, Allstate launched an initiative named Project Share Aware. The campaign aimed to make people aware of the fact that sharing one’s location on social media could result in targeting by social-savvy burglars.

The brand has a long history of scaring people into buying insurance, leveraging its Mayhem character, who has been wreaking havoc on people since 2010.

Working with Leo Burnett, the brand ran a series of commercials during the Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Day. The spots were inspired by real-life couple Matt and Shannon Moskal who the brand had earlier identified as social media oversharers.

In the ads,  the brand’s Mayhem character lets himself into the couple’s home while they are at the Sugar Bowl (they really were) and begins to place household items — over 300 — on sale informercial-style. Anyone could buy anything they chose.

And it wasn’t just a stunt. Items — which included everything from a ceiling fan to a car — were actually placed on sale and housed on a special campaign website which went live during the game for anyone to buy.

No, the couple’s actual items weren’t sold out from under. Rather, representations of the couple’s item’s were placed for sale. And Allstate sent the couple — who was in on the stunt — to the Sugar Bowl all expenses paid.

Using the @Mayhem Twitter account and #MayhemSale hashtag, the brand took to social media to engage with people during the game and to promote each individual sale item. It all began with this tweet:

Promotional tweets included:

The brand also took to its Mayhem Facebook page — which received 20 million impressions in less than a day — to promote the effort as well:

The couple, which was interviewed on Good Morning America January 2, said:

[blockquote]”We were told that they were filming our possessions and hoped to see how we would interact with our brands on social media. It was disconcerting to know our car could be sold for $200 or that this could really happen as a result of oversharing on social media.”[/blockquote]

Some have said the campaign is tinged with a bit of fear mongering and toys with stats related to actual thefts involving the use of social media by burglars. The campaign is based on a survey which states 78% of burglars admitted to using social media to identify targets.

Digital strategist Jason Falls did some digging and notes that study is credited to Friedland, a Honeywell company that sells home security equipment. Falls says he is uncomfortable that the sample size for the study was only 50 people.

Be that as it may, the campaign is a brilliant marriage between big reach TV sports broadcast and interactively engaging social media. And the fact that everyone loves a great deal.

The Project Aware Share campaign site provides people with tips and helpful information on what they can do to reduce the likelihood they will experience a Mayhem-like break in.

Of the effort, Allstate VP of Integrated Marketing Communications Pam Hollander said, “We’re not saying don’t use social media. We’re saying use it smartly. There are people out there posting everything about their lives and they leave themselves vulnerable.”

Here are several of the ads which launched the campaign during the Sugar Bowl:

The campaign wasn’t without its difficulties, and this Reddit post is an example of the both the campaign’s success and failings:

[blockquote]”Many people, like myself, spent the entire Sugar Bowl trying to purchase items during the #Mayhemsale. I thought I had purchased 4 items and received order confirmation emails for the items. Today I woke up to find cancellation emails for all 4 of the items. I went from super excited to super disappointed in less than 48 hours. I took a look at twitter and it turns out I am not alone. Almost everyone that received confirmation emails are now receiving cancellation emails.”[/blockquote]

So, what did Matt and Shannon learn from the experience with the campaign? While the couple still shares plenty on social media, they’ve altered their privacy settings to reign in the publicity of their posts.

Of the experience, Shannon said, “We are definitely posting the same ways we did before. That’s not the message of this campaign, It’s not about us. It’s about the fact that you need to be careful when you share.”

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About the author

Steve Hall
Steve Hall is a marketing professional, publisher, writer, community manager, photographer and all-around lover of advertising.

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