Like a true nature's child, Flo was born to be wild. Or something. Progressive's iconic ad character, played by Stephanie Courtney, revs up the va-va-vroom in this tongue-in-cheek motorcycle-themed print campaign created by Arnold Worldwide with Buffalo Art Co. and custom bike builder Chase Stopnik. (The work marks another departure for Flo from her familiar white-and-blue aproned commercial appearances, following her ectoplasmic turn in spots touting the insurer's sponsorship of the Ghostbusters reboot.) Now, Flo goes the sexy/rebel biker-chick route—which, of course, yields some high-octane kitsch, as she poses on custom-built "Chrome Thrones" made from motorcycle parts designed to represent different rigs.
In a competitive, jam-packed category like insurance, it can be difficult to reach consumers in an interesting and relevant way. Over the years, Progressive has managed to portray itself as a fun, likeable brand by creating a relatable character that's stood the test of time. So how did the brand break through all the noise?
Progressive spokeswoman Flo sat out the Super Bowl—"We're not trying to make the noise even noisier," the company's CMO, Jeff Charney, said late last week—but she's all over the whole Facebook Look Back thing.
They’ve been with us for over a century now, greeting shoppers in store aisles, striking a pose on packaging, and popping up in TV spots and on the Web. If you’re a marketer, there’s more than a passing chance you’ve worked with one—and if you’re a shopper, there’s probably at least one of them already in your home.
Remember six weeks ago, when people were calling for Flo's pale, peppy head on a platter after Progressive supposedly defended a customer's killer in court? Well, we knew Flo was too big to fail—and indeed she was. Stephanie Courtney's character is still on the air, and now she's fronting the kind of new initiative that's perfect for a brand trying to heal from a social-media flogging—a charity project. Progressive is teaming up with designer Candice Held to raise money for Dress for Success, a nonprofit that provides job-interview attire for women who can't afford it. Between now and Oct. 4, you can bid on a one-of-a-kind Candice Held dress that Flo wore in "red carpet" magazine ads earlier this year. It is quite the dress—it's a souped-up version of the plain store outfit Flo wears in her TV spots. And by souped up, we're talking 1,000 hand-placed crystals on the train. Bidding began at $200 and is already over $3,000. The "I ♥ Insurance" purse, arguably the even more awesome item, is not part of the package. "We chose Candice for this project because she's a top-notch designer, and we knew she'd do a great job turning Flo's everyday Superstore outfit into an elegant gown," says Progressive marketing director Miriam Deitcher. "It's a great dress and we'd love to keep it, but we're happy we can use it to raise money for a good cause." Likewise, Flo is a great spokesperson, and they'd clearly like to keep her, too.