The Progressive Insurance Girl. Ads new “It” girl drives me crazy!

October 23, 2009


Progressive or just plain annoying?

My friends at Ad Pulp wrote a post the other day on the ubiquitous “Progressive Insurance Lady.” (She’s doing her thing in the above clip.) Adpulp wondered if folks were grooving on the quirky, in your face character or hating on her. In either case, they correctly noted that she has already left a mark on pop culture.

Or is it a stain? While I must concede her notoriety, I don’t like the character. I don’t like her flirty, in your face attitude. Nor do I like her pseudo hip, cleaned up bohemian shtick. (Ooh, maybe she’s got a tattoo under that nurse outfit!) Can you say Janeane Garofalo? I could go on (and I will) but the bottom line is she drives me crazy in a bad way, not unlike the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” guy.

Fittingly, her name is “Flo,” which, as you know, is also the nickname many women attach to their periods. How apropos!

That said, according to a linked article on Adpulp, a growing number of people are enamored of the Progressive Girl; as a matter of fact, she seems to be attracting a cult following. By the way, the actress’s name is Stephanie Courtney and she claims to be “floored” by all the attention she’s getting.

Enjoy it while you can, Steph, it may become your legacy. Like Madge “You’re soaking in it” or the above-mentioned Verizon geek, you are rapidly becoming a human stain on our culture. You are conspicuous and hard to forget. As I implied in the opening, this may or may not be a bad thing for the advertiser. That all depends on what you think advertising is supposed to do. If sales and awareness are up it’s hard to argue with her. We still can, by the way. And sometimes should. If an ad campaign achieves its primary goals that does not absolve it of any wrong doing. Remember the yipping Chihuahua for Taco Bell?

But is Progressive building its client base? Just because a group of viewers developed a stalker-like fetish over this whitewashed hipster doesn’t mean the brand is deriving any benefit. If the Progressive Insurance Chick has a fan club, are any of its members switching to Progressive? I doubt it.

Characters we love to hate fascinate me. Maybe she’s one of those? I don’t know. Right now I just hate her. A lot. In fairness, and in conclusion, I should point out that it could be the scripts I dislike more so than the actor. So far the spots I’ve seen are cloying and pushy. And what’s with all that white space? Kind of reminds me of a 70’s version of heaven…for reasons unknown.

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21 Responses to “The Progressive Insurance Girl. Ads new “It” girl drives me crazy!”

  1. big happy hair said

    I don’t know if I like her or not, but I guarantee she owns a Bump It… and those are kinda weird. (http://www.bighappiehair.com/)

  2. Jason Fox said

    I can’t believe you dissed Madge.

    I actually recently switched to Progressive, but it had nothing to do with Flo (who, ironically enough, once appeared on the short-lived “Cavemen” TV show starring the Geico characters), and everything to do with saving $800 a year over my old carrier. Too bad their home-owner’s policies blew.

    Anyway, I found the initial few ads with Flo to be okay. The character was a little quirky and a little eager-to-please without being annoying. Now she’s plastered everywhere and they’ve dialed up the schtick and, frankly, I’d rather go with Dennis Haysbert and Allstate if I hadn’t vowed to never use Allstate again (long story).

    Oh, and I eventually figure something out to send in to Rogue’s.

  3. Patrick Scullin said

    Agree, she is hateful. The white environment is a pristine version of hell, with her making the passing of time unbearable. http://www.thelintscreen.com

  4. SRP said

    Thanks guys-
    Jason, Rogue’s is HUNGRY.
    Submit your art and/or prose to:
    Steffan1@rcn.com
    You too, Pat!

  5. LB Joe said

    Steffan- I’m so glad you brought this to everyone’s attention. Count me in as a passionate hater of not only her but the campaign in general (for all the same reasons you described). There’s also an element to her that creeps me out a bit.
    I may be projecting, but under all her bubbly, bouncy exterior, I could also see her turning around and physically attacking the poor saps who are “shopping” for insurance. Check all weapons at the door when entering the Progressive store. This is for your own protection as “Flo” may get a wee bit, shall we say “passionate” if you rub her the wrong way.

    Cheers.

  6. Eric said

    Does the movie, “Heaven Can Wait” come to mind?

  7. Yes, the ads are annoying and so is her character. The same as with the GEICO gecko, I don’t get how these spokespeople convince people to buy insurance but it must be working.

    You should go easy on the actress though. She’s just doing her best with the script she’s given. We don’t need to hate people.

  8. SRP said

    Luis-
    See my last paragraph… ;-)

  9. JimJames said

    Yeah. That hate speaks more about the hater, I think. Plus, I don’t get the Janeane Garafolo comparison. Isn’t her schtick “too cool to care” soaked in sarcasm? I get a sincere vibe off Flo. The spots do an amazing job of making insurance into a concrete commodity. One of the better campaigns out there. FYI: “in all fairness” hackily tacked onto the end doesn’t erase the “I hate her a lot”, “stain”, comparison to women’s periods(!) bile. Deeper issues at play here. I’d give Mom a call.

  10. SRP said

    JimJames-
    Of course there are deeper issues here. There always are! Especially when it comes to boy/girl stuff.

    Not fair to cite me for “hackily” tacking my compliment at the end. I think it was damn polite of me to do so.

    Finally, do you really think this is “one of the better campaigns out there?” Really?

  11. larry d said

    I love Steph, wish she was mine all mine, funny that women seem to hate her, maybe they need a sense of humor.

  12. What kind of motorcycle does Flo ride? A V-twin something-or-other.

  13. jack said

    i cant stand her and the campaign. ban the companies that use with these shitty ad campaigns-and annoying “actors.” she is a horrendous woman. what ad company came up with this, better yet, who is the creative director. i’d love to get his email, go pubic with it on these forums, and annoy him back.

  14. matt said

    I’m sure she’s a great person, but i hate, hate, hate that character. She (and her writers) are not funny at all. She’s unattractive, especially with that horrifying.. hair, which makes her appear as though she is sprouting a lifeless second head. Her hair-thing is also quite obviously dyed, and that’s distracting. The other characters featured on the ads have ranged from squeaky & shrill to nasty & obnoxious. The sales pitches are entirely insulting – I didn’t realize enough 5-year-olds were buying insurance now to merit being a target demographic. I can’t stand at least 99.5% of all ads on TV, but usually I just ADD-out during them without even realizing it. Unfortunately this isn’t the case with Progressive’s loudmouthed hag, and they’re about to wear my mute button completely out.

  15. When Progressive Insurance commercials appear on my TV, I rush to change channels. I find this “Flo” person to be unbearably obnoxious.

    • esr said

      I do exactly the same thing. She is so f****** annoying. Most of the time I forget to put the sound back up because I end up walking away or picking up something to read.

  16. Danny said

    What’s up with that huge lump on the top back of her head? Is her head deformed? Just curious.

  17. Dee said

    She is beyond obnoxious. I can’t find the mute button fast enough when it airs. I don’t know anyone who likes her or the horribly misguided campaign. It’s bad advertising. I wouldn’t even think about buying a policy from Progressive.

  18. Ma'am said

    As for her hair, she is wearing one of those bump-it things under her hair. (You can google Bump-it and find it, I’m sure). The one she has is way too exaggerated and makes her head look almost like ET’s. She’s actually beautiful but this commercial does not show her true attractiveness. She must be making quite a bit of money off it.

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