About

This commercial for Allstate Auto Insurance is part of their “Mayhem” advertising campaign. Driving a pink van and wearing pink sunglasses, actor Dean Winters declares, “I am a teenage girl.” When he is "emotionally compromised," by something he is told on his cell phone by his “BFF”, the driver crashes the pink van into another car before driving off. With Allstate, he says, "you can save money and be protected from mayhem like me."

Discussion

What was the purpose of having a man play the role of a teenage girl? In what ways did this catch the audience’s attention and help communicate Allstate’s message?

Consider the assumptions about teenage girls that Allstate plays off of in this commercial. What stereotypes about age and gender are referenced, and how does this shape the audience’s response?

Critique

The commercial constructs the teenage girl as mayhem, offering Allstate’s service in order to protect “you” from her. In so doing, the ad can be seen to capitalize on the stereotype that women are bad drivers. There is also an underlying critique about the dangers of texting while driving, which implicitly caused the accident in the first place. The emphasis, however, is that teenage girls will text about issues that are fluffy or "not serious" (relationships, boys, looks), and because of that, they will cause accidents.