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The GPS From Hell

June 15, 2011

Insurance marketing is an inherently evil business. These companies have every reason to want you to feel unsafe and insecure, to make you question your life and your choices. Wait, do I have the coverage I need? What if I do get kidnapped?

The feeling is fleeting, but once we are exposed to ads like this often enough a little worry-wart starts to grow. They are persistent – they know that if they can shake you, you’ll eventually cave and call them. However, if you learn to shrug off their fearmongering, there is frequently some good material in insurance ads.

Take Mr. Mayhem (see fig. 1). He is my favorite television manifestation of bad luck, poor judgement and momentary lapses of common sense. Even without much explanation, he is an instantly relatable character. Think of Eris, Greek god of discord. Mayhem feels no remorse for his actions, he even visibly enjoys the mischief he causes. But he is an unwilling foe, a tragic force of nature. He exists only to teach us a lesson about the affordable plan we should have purchased before it was too late.

fig. 1 - He's climbin' in yo windows...

He also performs a more sinister function – with each new spot he leaves us feeling a bit more helpless against the powers that be. In a way, this slowly absolves us of all responsibility for our actions. Convincing us that we have no control over our own destinies is the underlying objective of this campaign.

The angle is genius, but if this idea ever completely washed over a society the effects would be disastrous. Once we put all of our trust into our insurance companies, what have we got to lose? (see fig. 2)

fig. 2 - America

This is a scary thought, but it is unfortunately nothing new. All I know is that after almost a half decade of Flo (see fig. 3), I am so ready for this guy.

fig. 3 - Can't..... look.... away....


2 Comments leave one →
  1. mr_teaspoon permalink
    June 15, 2011 4:27 pm

    I hate both of these characters.

    Mr. Mayhem probably because I identify him as Dennis from 30 Rock, and Flo because she’s just such manufactured quirk.

    • June 15, 2011 6:04 pm

      OMG. The Beeper King. I knew I’d seen him somewhere before.

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