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Allstate Looks for Handout in New Effort

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NEW YORK - Using a variation of one of advertising's most time-tested tags, Allstate Insurance is unveiling a new campaign with the theme, "The right hands make all the difference." The ads, which will debut in the Dec. 17 issue of "Sports Illustrated"'s Winter Olympic issue and be followed by additional print and in 2002 TV and radio, feature "the hands of people whose special qualities allowed them to make a difference in their world," according to Jill Weaver, Allstate's vice president, brand strategy and marketing communications.The first ads -- an offshoot of the Northbrook, Ill.-based company's long-running "You're in good hands with Allstate" -- coincide with Allstate's official home and auto sponsorship of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. They will star Winter Olympians Bonnie Blair, Brian Boitano, Dan Jansen, Picabo Street, Kristi Yamaguchi and members of the 1980 Men's U.S. Olympic gold medal winning hockey team. New ads, to run after the Games, will include the hands of such notables as Mario Andretti, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, inventor/scientist Ann Lai and Vice Admiral Tony Less."The new approach has been designed to look and feel like anything but insurance advertising," said Weaver. "The Difference campaign aligns the personal values of the individuals featured with the values of the Allstate brand."Media spend was not revealed. Allstate spent $40 million on media through August, 2001, per CMR. The effort is from Leo Burnett, Chicago.-- Barry Janoff