Elk Grove elk play role of 'Mayhem' in Allstate radio ads
The iconic elk of the Busse Woods forest preserve in Elk Grove Village have gotten some notoriety this summer in Allstate radio commercials -- an example of the Northbrook-based insurance giant's localized radio spots played in markets across the country.
The 60-second commercials have been running on about a dozen Chicago radio stations, featuring the voice of actor Dean Winters, who plays Allstate's "Mayhem" character in both radio and TV ads.
In the radio commercial, Winters plays the role of a distracting elk who causes a driver on Arlington Heights Road to crash into another vehicle. The person behind the wheel of the front car was similarly "gawking at my antlers," says the elk, voiced by Winters.
The ads are the brainchild of Chicago advertising firm Leo Burnett, which comes up with various "local insights" to try to highlight "local Mayhem," said Amanda Polito, Allstate's director of local advertising.
"I remember years of driving by and loved it, (although) most of the time you don't see anything," Polito said. "What I loved about the spot itself was the fact that it was certainly humorous, but it felt very hyperlocal by naming Arlington Heights Road. And it felt like something that would resonate with consumers in the area."
Leo Burnett and Allstate have developed local ads in as many as 70 markets across the country this year -- using the names of local highways, roads and points of interest. Ad representatives may not be in all of those markets, but they consult with their contacts in those areas to help guide the creative process and make sure the ads developed are on target, Polito said.
"What we're always looking to do is come up with a unique local insight that would make for good radio -- good theater of the mind," she said.
Commercials featuring the Elk Grove elk follow past years' Allstate advertising spots, such as ones discussing Chicago-style hot dogs -- with sport peppers and no ketchup -- and a Frank Lloyd Wright home.
Winters has become known for his Mayhem character on Allstate national TV commercials, but there's no plans to do localized TV commercials.
The radio commercials are expected to run through August.