Allstate Press Release Backfires
Press releases are an effective way for companies to announce product launches, events, promotions and other company news. Some companies have even published funny press releases. But when Allstate tried this they quickly found out how unfunny customers found their press release joke. Allstate had issued a press release correlating that accident rates are determined by your zodiac sign. Funny? Well, few people seem to find it hilarious.
The release had created “confusion around whether astrological signs are part of the underwriting process.” Allstate quickly retracted the release stating that “Astrological signs have absolutely no role in how we base coverage and set rates.”
In addition, their original press release went on to claim that “worried and shy” Virgos were the worst drivers with 211,650 Virgos involved in accidents while Scorpios have a “perfectionist nature,” making them the safest drivers in 2010, involved in only 26,833 accidents. Leo, Taurus, Pisces and Sagittarius rounded out the top 5 worst drivers based on the zodiac calendar.
The press release was apparently inspired by the recent revision to the zodiac calendar. Allstate declared Opiuchus, the newest sign to the Zodiac to be the second safest drivers. With a widespread outcry about the press release being offensive Allstate quickly retracted the press release stating, “Rating by astrology would not be actuarially sound. We realize that our hard working customers view their insurance expense very seriously. So do we.”
When writing a press release it’s important to be careful when using humor. If it just doesn’t sound right you should think twice before you publish it.
Do you think using another medium such as a TV commercial to illustrate Allstate’s Zodiac joke would have made the joke funny instead of offensive? Or would any joke about using zodiac signs to determine insurance rates be considered offensive?
Categorized in: Direct Marketing