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What If Flo Would Go?
By: Michael Lindquist
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Whether you love her or hate her, Progressive's bubbly pitch-woman Flo has been a major presence in the advertising world. Flo's unforgettable quirkiness and iconic appearance makes her just as recognizable as the Pillsbury Doughboy or Tony the Tiger.  Progressive Insurance took their piece of the insurance pie by introducing the character Flo in 2008 and has been going strong well into 2012. 

The cheery, helpful insurance expert spends her days working in a futuristic and ethereal insurance store. According to Progressive's director of advertising, James Crolley, "Flo is not going anywhere," but what would happen if Flo hung up her apron or handed it off to someone else?

Flo is synonomous with Progressive Insurance, and vice versa. Without Flo, Progressive is just another boring insurance company. In an industry full of characters and creative concepts including the Geico Gecko, and the Cavemen, and Allstate's Mayhem Man, Flo has been deemed the most recognizable mascot on TV. Audiences have grown with her, and we want to hear what she has to say. 

Several of Progressive's ads are very funny, whether you're laughing at the situational comedy or Flo's reactions to her unusual collection of customers. There are people who despise Progressive's pitch-woman, but who cares? The character has become so popular that people are dressing up like Flo for Halloween. You can follow Flo on Twitter as well as "Like" any number of Facebook fan pages created for those who love that Progressive Girl. 

One element that separates Progressive from other insurance companies in their advertising is that Progressive relies so heavily on Flo to deliver their message. Geico, Allstate, and State Farm have two or more major campaigns running simultaneously. Allstate uses the trustworthy voice of Dennis Haysbert and the wild, chaotic Mayhem Man. Geico has so many campaigns that they have started creating brand confusion for every insurance company. Although audiences benefit from the clarity of Flo's regular appearances, other companies appeal to different demographics through multiple campaigns.

Viewers are always asking "Who is that Progressive girl?" The character Flo is portrayed by Stephanie Courtney. Stephanie has appeared in a number of television shows including House, HBO's The Comeback, and AMC's Mad Men. Stephanie started out in theater and eventually made it into standup comedy, which explains why Flo's one-liners are so perfect. Stephanie's quirky delivery mixed with Flo's look makes for some entertaining commercial breaks, but Flo has an unfortunate expiration date.

Flo will not be around forever, or rather, Stephanie Courtney will not be around forever. The actor is pushing 40, and certain audiences have grown tired of Flo’s unusual behavior. Progressive may realize that in order to appeal to new targets or sub-targets, they need a separate campaign without their beloved Flo. There have been complementary campaigns with appearances from the Flobot, The Messenger, and a few others, but it wouldn't hurt to gradually introduce a second campaign to wean us off of Progressive’s famous pitch-woman.


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About the Author
Michael Lindquist has a strong passion for art, entertainment, and advertising. As a child, he learned it was okay to color outside the lines, because the lines only restrict your creativity and imagination. Find him online here.
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