Progressive Insurance mistake

Progressive Insurance mistake

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

19 December 2017

Again. Another Progressive Insurance mistake.

I never really liked the Progressive television campaign. Flo is goofy and too old. And many of the spots are trite. Some will argue with me when I say that the campaign is a tribute to one Progressive Insurance mistake after another.

But, they are wrong.

If the campaign was effective, why does Progressive need the immense buy? You can sell anything if you repeat it enough.

Look at the numbers. These guys spend tons on frequency. Brands with an important and memorable message sacrifice reach for frequency.

“The only thing I hate more than Progressive’s Flo is how quick they are to spend dollars. It covers up many branding mistakes. This is just the latest in a long line of wasteful bucks.”

Flo is not the worst of the mistakes

Big ad spends are like makeup. They can cover up a lot of flaws.

Agencies should spend more time trying to figure out the highest emotional intensity in the category. That is the goal.

Own the most important idea that causes a customer to switch. Execute that idea. Leave the rest to tactics.

It is impossible to get a prospect to switch without awareness.

But don’t confuse awareness with importance or emotional intensity.

Look at this Progressive ad

At least we are not watching a soft lens hiding the fact that Flo is 85 years old.

See if you can spot the Progressive Insurance mistake in it.


Easy to spot mistakes

Do you like the ad? Let’s pretend, just for argument sakes, that you do. Are you enjoying the characters?

You may even find the over-the-top push at humor amusing. Go figure?

But, I have a REAL problem with the message. (Read about insurance branding here.)

Progressive Insurance and the agency that created it miss the issue.

What is the main message?

Progressive Insurance IS expert at comparisons. That’s the big take-away.

It is not the highest emotional intensity (the campaign lacks that entirely).

But play along with me now.

Jamie is part of Progressive. He represents Progressive Insurance. And he literally represents them. He is the main character in this commercial. He is the face of Progressive.

So, Jamie represents the value Progressive attempts to own. Expertise.

Progressive Insurance, if we believe the strategy, is expert at comparisons.

No. Not Jamie

But a symbol of Progressive is not an expert. He is blind.

And stupid (even if his goofiness is likable). The meta message here is clear. Progressive does NOT make understand comparisons.

In fact, it sucks at it.

Why does this matter?

Because it represents misunderstanding the brand. Progressive is color blind to brand equities.

Shit happens. Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln who said, “Power creates shit and absolute power is absolutely shit” (or something along those lines)?

Is it another fatal Progressive Insurance mistake?

No. Not at all. We are forgetting that Progressive has almost unlimited budgets.

With enough money, you can even sell Sunny Delight. (Insurance marketing gets it wrong quite often.)

Spend on Progressive. Follow the Aflac Duck and the GEICO Gecko.

The Answer is SPEND MORE (and vote often).

1 Comment

  1. Why is the tool room ad funny? Ignoring people, really treating him like crap? Not funny! Hate that commercial and will not even consider progressive for alienating someone. Been there, sucks!!!


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Progressive Insurance mistake was last modified: December 19th, 2017 by Tom Dougherty
Categories: AdvertisingAwarenessBrand meaningBrand permissionInsurance
Tags: Advertising mistakesAflacFloGEICOInsurance advertisingProgressiveProgressive Comparisons CommercialProgressive insuranceProgressive Insurance MistakeProgressive Jamie AdvertisingProgressive TwinsProgressive's Jamie
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