AllState insurance just released an ad touting the company’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and focusing on the supposed selflessness of its agents. The spot, titled “1,000 Thank You’s”, isn’t particularly subtle in its messaging—it’s called a “tribute to the 1,000 employees who put customers first” during the hurricane even when their own homes had been damaged.
Turns out the story is a little more complicated than that.
The problem? A Staten Island family whose home features prominently in the ad has some major gripes with AllState—and they’re not afraid to voice their issues in public. Customer Dominic Traina says he “got disgusted” after seeing the ad during Thanksgiving dinner because AllState only offered his family $10,000 for the damage depicted in the video after the jump.
The disagreement stems from the fact that Traina had no flood insurance for the home where he and his family have lived for more than 40 years. He claims that all the damage came from winds generated by the storm; he’s hired a lawyer and refused the company’s offer in a bid to get a larger settlement. Traina also claims that, despite the heartwarming ad, AllState’s agents are “not caring at all.”
We can’t comment on the merits of Traina’s claim, but we can say that this story negates the obvious purpose of the ad: endearing the AllState brand to tri-state residents who lived through the storm. We can also call AllState’s damage control response insufficient: The company released a statement affirming that the commercial was “produced in accordance with all applicable advertising laws” and that the company remains “in contact with this customer”. Doesn’t quite address the issue at hand, does it?
We understand why AllState would refrain from making any comment on the case’s merits, and we can’t see this turning into a Progressive-level PR disaster, but we do feel like the company has only itself to blame for this story going public.