I like Flo, but she’s also part of the problem for Progressive

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

5 November 2013

And it’s a problem for all insurance companies, not just Progressive

I have to admit that, as much as there’s the threat of Flo-fatigue, I kinda like the Flo character from the Progressive commercials. She’s become more engaging as the commercials have gone along, with a unique look and personality. She’s charming.

Progressive’s CMO, Jeff Charney, says Flo is popular with so many because the company took the tactic of treating the commercials like a television network, with a lead character and setting (the Superstore) with guest stars and the like.

“There is some movement, but nothing major – which you wouldn’t think considering the vast amount of TV time purchased by those companies.”


ProgressiveYes, I like her and apparently Flo is huge on Facebook with 5.3 million fans and more than 170,000 likes.

But here’s the thing. Flo doesn’t seem to increase market share all that much. Progressive remains stuck in fourth place among car insurance companies, with State Farm still holding the lead it’s had for years.

In fact, car insurance is one of the most stagnant industries there is, with Allstate second and GEICO third. There is some movement, but nothing major – which you wouldn’t think considering the vast amount of TV time purchased by those companies. Some estimates put the TV spending for insurance companies at more than $6 billion each year.

The problem is most, if not all, of them are producing advertising that is entertainment instead of taking advantage of unique, emotional triggers that would get customers to switch in larger numbers.

So, while I like Flo, it’s not enough to make me a Progressive customer.


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