Sunday, November 30, 2008

You're in good hands...if you've been convicted of vehicular manslaughter

Have you seen the latest Allstate commercial?

It opens in a courtroom with two white, presumably middle class, parents with their arms around their teenage son while the judge states his decision that the young man is at fault for an auto collision and damages are $100,000. The defendant lawyer tells the plaintiff lawyer that the boy only has $50,000, to which the plaintiff lawyer turns to his clients and tells them not to worry; they will get the money from stocks, college funds, etc. The parents, looking aghast and slightly terrified, look to their lawyer and exclaim, "Can they do that?"

Apparently, yes, they can. And apparently these "poor" folks are not of the lower middle class as we were formerly led to believe. Stocks? Bonds? College fund? This is your typical upper middle class family if they have over $50,000 in assets (not including retirement as that would not be accessible to pay off a judgment on their son, correct me if I am wrong, lawyers).

The point of this marketing campaign is to show viewers that, unless you have coverage from Allstate, you could be taken to the cleaners if you get in an auto accident.

What the commercial doesn't point out is that the boy is at fault, otherwise there would be no case against him for damages. Twelve reasonable people heard the case, and deemed the price of said damages to be this astronomical amount. Ergo, we, the viewers, can assume the crash was pretty horrific.

This brings us to the real heart of the problem, and why, as an insurance customer, I hate this commercial. Allstate is making us, the viewers, sympathize with the defendant, a young man who made some stupid decision (texting while driving? running a red light?) and caused a horrific car accident. We're supposed to feel sorry that his well-off family will be a little less wealthy because he made this mistake.

Notice how Allstate doesn't show the victim of the crash at all? We only see the plaintiff lawyer and, who I assume is, a representative for said plaintiff. This commercial says to me, "Hey, we all get in these binds, right? Just be sure that your ass is covered by Allstate so the greedy victim can't take you to the cleaners."

Nice try, Allstate, but instead of trying to get us to sympathize with an upperclass white kid who commits vehicular manslaughter, perhaps it would be better to remind us to be mindful drivers who avoid causing horrific car accidents.

1 comment:

Evan said...

I hate that commercial.