Progressive Talks Aprons with New Brand Extension

By Erik Oster 

In their new brand extension campaign “The Thread,” Progressive asks and then answers a question you might have had watching their long-running spots starring apron-wearing sales clerk Flo: “What does an apron have to do with car insurance?”

Over dramatic piano music, the first spot of the campaign, “Everything,” poses and then answers the question, claiming an apron is “hard work,” “pride in what you do,” “not quitting until you’ve made something a little better,” and, finally, “for us, everything.” The serious spot is quite a departure from Progressive’s typically goofy advertising strategy.

The real heart of the new campaign isn’t in the television spot, but rather the “Apron Projects” highlighted at Progressive’s Thread website. These are projects by people outside of Progressive who “make progress by making things a little better.” Like Stephen Ritz, a New York-based educator who launched Green Bronx Machine, a project building green walls that grow vegetables in urban areas with a lack of healthy food options.

The new, serious strategy apparent in “Everything”  — originally a bit perplexing — makes a lot more sense in light of “Apron Projects,” which makes you wonder why they didn’t highlight this side of the campaign in the TV spot. Hopefully the follow-up to “Everything” will remedy this.