Allstate Corp. retracted a recent press release that was originally meant to be a joke, displaying the accident rates of drivers according to their zodiac signs. “We recently issued a press release on zodiac signs and accident rates, which led to some confusion around whether astrological signs are part of the underwriting process,” said the insurer, in its retraction. “Astrological signs have absolutely no role in how we base coverage and set rates.”
Allstate used real results based on the birthdays of customers actually involved in accidents – but the conclusions were supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. Virgos were involved in the most accidents, with Scorpios being the least accident-prone. Allstate even threw in the “new” zodiac sign of Ophiuchus (second least accident prone). The end result was a PR nightmare for the company.
If Geico had done this, would the results have been the same? Possibly not, because due to their advertising and branding, people associate Geico with a sense of humor. When I think of Allstate, I think of solid and dependable. Although I love the “Mayhem” commercials that Allstate has recently released, I think it will take awhile for the public to associate the company with wit. More importantly, will humorous advertising from an accident insurance company really resonate with consumers?
At this point, my main concern is that my 15 year old driver-in-training is a Virgo.