Home > #8, Uncategorized > Allstate Press Release Controversy

Allstate Press Release Controversy

As I was surfing on the New York Times website I stumbled upon a story involving press releases that captured my attention because it seemed so outrageous.

On January 28th 2011 Allstate Insurance company released the following statement. ”

Illinois-based Allstate Insurance said its analysis of car accidents related to astrology found Virgos were the most likely to crash vehicles.

The company said its comparison of 2010 claims data against the revised astrological calendar found Virgos were involved in 211,650 collisions last year, 700 percent more than the 26,833 crashes involving Scorpios, the safest drivers on the zodiac calendar.

Allstate said Ophiuchus, the “new” sign added in the revised calendar, was the second-safest sign for motorists, followed by Cancer, Aquarius, Libra, Aries, Capricorn, Gemini, Sagittarius, Pisces, Taurus and Leo.”

This statement was highly criticized for numerous reasons. The primary one being that astrological signs should have nothing to do with insurance. Customers became quite angry, and four days later Allstate issued another press release that apologized for their previous judgements.

This press release captured the attention of not only numerous insurance customers, but that of the New York Times writer Gary Antonick. Following the two press releases issued by Allstate he analyzed what is going on and what information is behind the claims of Allstate. His method for doing this was reaching out to the news consumers and breaking the single stream flow of news. The reader’s interactions were posted that included the best facts and answers. Also, a chart showing the astrological sign, the birthrates, personality traits, and number of accidents in the year 2010 is included at the end of the story.

Although Allstate clearly finds some sort of truth behind the studies performed relating astrological signs to driver safety, the public reception of the release caused an uproar which forced Allstate to apologize. I found this interesting that such a prominent company as Allstate that should be known for reliability would release such information that is not strongly supported. Even if the numbers and the personality traits seem to support their claims.

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  1. tessdoez
    February 21, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Although this is a very interesting story, you haven’t really responded to the requirements of the assignment. The key is finding a press release from a public relations department that was turned into a “news” article, and discussing the ethical ramifications of this practice with reference to how the textbook describes it. Please rewrite for credit and email me when you have posted your changes.

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