‘Lord of Mishap’ Reigns Supreme

LOS ANGELES Campbell-Ewald here has crafted a special-effects-laden spot for Farmers Insurance Group of Cos.

The spot, breaking next week, targets the “hard-core gamer, some of whom are now 30 years old and beyond,” said copywriter Neville Anderson, who teamed with fellow agency associate creative director and art director Mike Conboy on the ad. Klaus Obermeyer of Aero Films directed.

The commercial introduces the “Lord of Mishap,” a gremlin-like “personification of the bad things that happen to everybody,” who flies around a suburban street as cars and houses explode below, said Anderson. In the corner of the screen (video-game style), the words “Help Point Activated” flash and the demon is defeated, his calamities reversed. A voiceover by Lost in Space actor Billy Mumy concludes the spot: “Farmers’ Help Point: Putting things right the moment they go wrong. Farmers gets you back where you belong.”

Print and outdoor executions, as well as some point-of-sale materials, will also include the character, Anderson said.

Anderson said the ad is intended to skew younger, “without alienating the existing audience.”

Obermeyer shot the live action. Howard Berger, Oscar winner for The Chronicles of Narnia, provided character prosthetics for certain shots. In others, the gremlin’s face and body movements were motion-captured by House of Moves, Los Angeles, as animation-after effects.

The Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance Group spent $45 million on advertising in 2005 and $15 million in the first quarter of this year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.