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You’re watching your favorite T.V. show on the edge of your seat. It’s almost time for the big reveal and you guessed it – commercial. Ugh! (And don’t you love that moment when you realize you’re watching it live – no DVR, no fast forward!)

A series of boring commercials come and go. Then “Mr. Mayhem” (some outrageous guy with a busted up face) is impersonating a teenage girl as he jogs down the street. A passerby (young teenage boy) stares at Mr. Mayhem and suddenly crashes into a light pole – Allstate flashes on the screen. Oh, it’s an Allstate commercial. Ok, kind of funny.

The next time you meet Mr. Mayhem you’re a little more familiar. What’s he going to do now? He looks like a raccoon and he’s destroying an attic – Allstate flashes on the screen. You laugh and move on.

You know the saying, “Third time’s the charm?” Well, next time you see Mr. Mayhem you wait in eager expectation to witness his new outlandish adventure. And now you would never have guessed – he is eating a large bone while robbers ravage his house (yes, he’s a dog in this scenario). Then, Allstate flashes on the screen. You laugh hysterically. Oh, Mr. Mayhem! And there you have it, you’re hooked.

Is it an accident that this progression took place in your mind? No. Allstate’s marketers sat in a room for an extended period of time and brainstormed about Mr. Mayhem. All successful marketing involves strategy. Mr. Mayhem’s adventures aren’t humorous for humor’s sake. He serves two purposes for Allstate. He increases both likeability and familiarity.

Mr. Mayhem has captured America’s attention and America likes him. How do we know? There is a rule in marketing: If your ad campaign is working, don’t change it. Allstate has been using the same villain since 2010 – hence it’s working. Characters are chosen to represent brands because it personalizes the brand. A likeable character, at the very least, creates intrigue about the brand. Ronald McDonald is a prime example of this. He is the second most recognized character by kids behind Santa Claus. Kids like him and they want to go see him at McDonald’s; his purpose is served.

The average American sees anywhere from 300 to 3,000 ads a day. We sort through the influx based on frequency and positive/negative experiences. When you search for car insurance you’re going to start with the companies you’re familiar with and those you associate a positive experience with. Poof! It’s Mr. Mayhem. You know him and had a positive experience (laughing at his escapades). Job well done Mr. Mayhem, you’ve served your purpose.

It seems as though the marketers in that room knew what they were doing. Our hat’s are off to Allstate! We’re hooked.

If you haven’t met Mr. Mayhem, here he is:

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