Progressive Moves On

Progressive Insurance has placed its estimated $70 million account into review, ending a brief relationship with New York’s Arnell Group Brand Consulting.
The Cleveland auto insurer has contacted shops in the Midwest, East and Southwest. It plans to spend approximately $50 million on TV and radio advertising and $20 million on direct mail and sports sponsorships.
The company wants an agency that has more experience in direct response advertising, as it sells insurance through an 800 number, and one that can better leverage the brand through Progressive’s network of 30,000 independent agents, company representative Leslie Kolleda said.
Besides direct response TV work, the client is eyeing radio, print and outdoor ads, co-op materials for agents and direct mail. It wants to capitalize on being an “immediate response” insurer and offering an Express Quote service that compares its rates to those of other companies.
Progressive does its own media buying, but the agency would handle planning. A decision is expected by the end of June.
Arnell was hired in August to succeed Publicis & Hal Riney, Chicago. Its work included a Super Bowl halftime spot featuring the movie character E.T. But it does not offer direct marketing, and only “had the assignment of [building] awareness,” chairman Peter Arnell said.
The RFP acknowledges that “although growing, consumer awareness of Progressive is still low.”
The client’s next agency will also have to work with E.T., since Progressive is committed to using the little alien as part of a “long-term relationship” established with Amblin Entertainment and Universal Studios, according to the RFP.
The client also plans to keep Arnell’s “Be progressive” tagline.
Progressive, the nation’s fifth-largest auto insurer, is asking shops to submit credentials by today.
–with Trevor Jensen