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.