Why Progressive's Flo and Friends Trounce That Talking Lizard

CMO Jeff Charney says human characters are more 'relatable' mascots—and he's got 15 to prove that

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Eleven years ago, actress Stephanie Courtney sat down for an interview with Atlanta’s WSB-TV. Fresh off a stint with the Groundlings improvisational troupe in L.A., she had recently been cast as Flo, the ever-smiling, retro-bobbed customer service rep for Progressive insurance.

When the station asked her what she made of fans who considered Flo to be desirable, Courtney was flummoxed. “I don’t know what it is,” she said. “The way I play her, she’s pretty much the most asexual thing on TV right now.

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