Flo Survives Progressive Scandal, Fronts New Charity Initiative

Character's red-carpet dress auctioned on eBay

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.