The biggest winner from Thursday’s college bowl games may have been Sugar Bowl sponsor Allstate, which caused the Internet to explode with the message: Don't overshare on social media.
The insurance company aired over eight ads during the Alabama-Ohio State Sugar Bowl matchup that explained a couple left their home for the weekend and posted pictures from Thursday's game, thereby allowing someone to “burglarize” their house and sell items online. "Buy Matt & Shannon's stuff now at MayhemSale.com," the campaign stated.
The commercial and subsequent online videos featured Allstate's "Mayhem" spokesman, portrayed by "Oz" and "30 Rock" actor Dean Winters.
Allstate told ABC News the 300 items for sale will be delivered to the buyers in the next two weeks. The products were replicas of the couple’s real-life possessions and were purchased by real people online, Allstate said.
Allstate's @Mayhem Twitter handle announced periodically when items would be on sale at MayhemSale.com, creating buzz among many Twitter users who questioned whether the heavily discounted items were actually sold. The site gained a ton of publicity as it urged visitors to "learn how to protect yourself online at Allstate.com/AwareShare."
I’m a social media savvy burglar. It’s come to my attention that these people are out of town. pic.twitter.com/fZ48ARN2xz— Mayhem (@Mayhem) January 2, 2015
"The couple in the ads is real and so is the website where you can buy their stuff," AdAge reported.
Twitter users tweeted that the sales were real and began posting about cheap items they scored, including items worth hundreds of dollars for just a few bucks and free shipping.
Total site traffic to MayhemSale.com reached 18 million hits during the Sugar Bowl, Allstate told ABC News. The site was so popular that it crashed more than once.
Apologies. Due to a high volume of people with questionable ethics, my burgle-site keeps crashing. But it goes back up. #mayhemsale— Mayhem (@Mayhem) January 2, 2015
The "Mayhem" character was featured in short online videos pitching individual items, including "non-working smoke detectors:"
Someone apparently even bought a real 60-inch flat-screen television worth $1,089.99 for 5.5 percent of the cost:
The last and biggest item was a car sold worth $34,170 that reportedly sold for $200.
Mayhem declared the marketing campaign a success online.