Progressive Update: No Mo Flo?

Hey, how is Progressive Insurance dealing with their ongoing PR imbroglio? If you guessed “running around like a headless chicken”, then you just might be correct!

According to Business Insider, the company’s current state of (justifiable) panic may well lead them to send their favorite spokeswoman Flo on an extended vacation.

Well, somebody needs to do something—and fast. Progressive’s PR outlook hasn’t gotten any better since we first ran the story earlier this week. Matt Fisher, the comedian who first brought the controversy into the spotlight with his harrowing tale of legal battles in the wake of his sister’s tragic death, took to Tumblr yesterday to refute Progressive’s universally panned response to his initial post (not a great idea to enable comments on that company blog, by the way). Fisher insisted that Progressive’s in-house lawyer did in fact serve as counsel for the “underinsured” driver who caused the fatal accident–despite contrary claims from the company.

Wow. Tough to spin this one. The Insider report indicates that the once-vaunted Flo, whose borderline-creepy persona was always part of her appeal, has become a net liability for the auto insurance giant. We have to agree that seeing her smirking face next to automated tweets about the tragedy was more than a little off-putting, and the company has already replaced her with a logo pic on their official feed.

But parting is such sweet sorrow, and company mascots are very resilient. Business Insider goes so far as to label Flo “too big to fail”, and we agree that she’ll almost certainly be back to annoy late-night TV viewers soon enough.

What do you think? Should Progressive kill Flo for good? Could PR News’s 6 Crisis Lessons Learned really have helped them? Is there anything the company might do at this point to staunch the bleeding from their self-inflicted wounds?