Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials has become a household name the past 5 years.
Some people love her and others find her pretty annoying.
You could see why there might be a divided opinion of her in this commercial:
She’s goofy, she’s confident, she’s likable or annoying depending on who you ask.
More than anything she’s the central character of Progressive’s advertising strategy and it’s hard to argue with results.
This the 10 year look back of Progressive Corp’s (PGR) stock valuations.
In 2008 Flo was first introduced to the public during a downturn in stock valuations.
The company’s 10 year low was January 2009.
By November 2014, Flo has appeared in over 100 commercials for the brand.*
We can’t attribute all of this success just to advertising.
We also can’t pinpoint it to just one central character of the advertising.
But it’s not hard to imagine that Flo has had a large impact on the brand.
Where did she come from?
From a technical sense, the character was devised by copywriter John Park and art director Steve Reepmeyer of Arnold Worldwide in Boston, MA.
However, this character has been around for decades.
Just take a look at this video:
Flo is eerily similar to Jane Withers.
Jane was an actress and is well known for her role as “Josephine the Plumber” in the Comet cleanser television commercials from the 1960s.*
Again, very similar:
Even from a looks standpoint they are very close.
So what did this have to do with your business?
Well, first of all… having a character that people can relate to can do wonders for your advertising.
People connect with people.
Second of all… you don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time.
Sometimes you can look to see what worked in the past and put your own spin on it.
Now that’s Progressive!
Credit – Wiki Flo
Credit – Wiki Jane Withers