Friday, September 29, 2017

What the hell, Allstate?

Ok, as near as I can figure, here is the story behind this ad-

Once upon a time- all the way back in 1971, in fact- this guy was in an Allstate Commercial for a few seconds.  Some years later, this guy died.  Even more years later, one of his kids became engaged to be married, and another one of his kids decided "hey, it's really sad that dad isn't here to share this very special day so wouldn't it be cool if we could find that Allstate Commercial he was in back in 1971 and show it to everyone before the wedding?"

Because nobody in this family has any common sense or taste, nobody said "well, actually, no, because while we all miss Dad and everything, the day is going to be about the couple actually getting married and it's supposed to be joyous- not sure how showing a grainy, washed out old commercial featuring Dad shilling for insurance before the ceremony is going to do anything except detract from the reason we're all together. 

I mean, we all miss Dad and wish he could be here.  I want to make it clear that I totally understand that.  But we've got old home movies featuring Dad we could show.  We could, and certainly will, spend at least some of the day reflecting on our best memories featuring Dad.  Are you suggesting that we should try to replace all that with a ten-second clip of Dad in an Allstate Commercial?"

Nobody said that.  So while other people were doing things like arranging catering and fittings and booking the church and renting the hall and sending invitations and doing all those things that are normally part of the preparation for weddings (I assume.  I was just a groom after all, I didn't do any of that stuff.  I just showed up) this woman was writing to Allstate and asking the company to find a copy of the old Cheesy 70s Commercial With Dad Wearing Ugly Clothing.  And because of her exhaustive efforts to carry out her plan to do this rather pointless thing that no one had the guts to tell her was pretty stupid and kind of a waste of time, everyone got to spend a few minutes of the wedding day pretending to appreciate a rather maudlin look at Dear old Dad, and then pretended to laugh because Hey Her Heart was in the Right Place.

But don't tell me that the message of this ad is anything larger than "Allstate is totally shameless when it comes to pretending to care about it's customers, especially when an eight-second YouTube search can find the video clip one of those customers desperately wants to see for some reason, and when Allstate can later use it in a modern commercial."  Because I'm not buying it.

Hope this family enjoyed the trip down memory lane, though, and that it didn't put too much of a pall on what was supposed to be a happy event.  Sort of.  Actually, I don't care.  Don't have to be nice, just have to be honest.

1 comment:

  1. OK, this is one where I'm gonna have to actually put up an opposing opinion. (First time for everything, right?)

    In all honesty, I found this story and what this woman did touching. Now, did Allstate have to milk the whole incident to tug on everyone's heartstrings and shill for themselves as great human beings rather than insurance hucksters? No, they did not. They could have quietly connected her family with this old commercial and left it at that. But of course, companies never do that sort of thing. If they can think of any way to turn a goodwill gesture into a promotion of themselves, they do.

    But the story itself? It touches me. Maybe it's because I'd feel the same way if I had no video of my mom who is no longer with me. The daughter says this family did not have any home movies of Dad to watch. They had still photos and that was it. So this commercial, which had become part of the family lore, was meaningful to them. What's more, I'm sure that she wouldn't have wanted to dig it up to show at her brother's wedding if she thought it was going to bring everybody down or make the day about him. I am sure her plan was to show the video, let everyone be amazed and shed a tear, and for her brother to come away feeling as if his dad had been able, in some way, to attend his wedding. It was nice Allstate was able to make it happen. I could have done without all the back-patting they did of themselves, but it was a nice gesture.