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Posts Tagged ‘Progressive’

Progressive’s ‘Flo’ Parodies All Those Facebook ‘Look Back’ Videos

Flo‘s Facebook “Look Back” video is better than yours.

Why? Because like she memorably stated in a 2010 Progressive commercial, few things go so well together as “unicorns and glitter.”

After Progressive’s leading lady was conspicuously absent from the Super Bowl ad lineup, we were concerned she might be on her way out. But fear not, fellow Flo-fans! It looks as though our favorite crimson-lipped, insurance-pushing optimist is back — and ready to see your nostalgic Facebook video and raise you an epic, Unicorn-rights-centric one of her own.

And in case you somehow weren’t aware that Flo had her own Facebook page (where have you been?), the upcoming weekend is a perfect time to catch up on all the rhyming, randomness, and, of course, unicorns!

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How Big Data Brought Us the GEICO Gecko

Back in October (when this PRNewser writer dressed as Flo for Halloween), we discussed the popularity of brand mascots like Progressive‘s Flo, Allstate‘s Mayhem and the GEICO Gecko — and what it means for a company when a character created solely for the purpose of selling a product becomes something of a pop culture icon.

Relevant research at the time indicated that, while the public’s love for these quirky insurance pushers undoubtedly helped bring some personality to an otherwise drab product, it didn’t necessarily always correlate with sales.

Now, thanks to a revealing interview in AdAge, we’ve learned that there may be a more direct correlation between the Gecko and his company’s sales. The spokes-lizard was never intended to be the longstanding fixture he has become. But, as GEICO CMO Ted Ward explains in the interview, the ever-improving marketing tool known as data analytics made it clear that The Gecko was making an impact:

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Mitt Romney and the Dangers of Automated Messaging

We can understand why the Romney/Ryan campaign might forget to cancel the obviously automated publication of its official victory website after Tuesday’s election. In this case, the team’s oversight inspired little more than snickering and/or sadness among observers. But it also serves as a useful example of the headaches that automated content, messages and responses can create for PR teams.

Automation can be a great tool, especially in the world of social media. But real-world circumstances change quickly, and a failure to re-align one’s messages in the moment can amount to a big PR fail. Let’s review some recent examples:

  • Progressive Insurance responded to a massive PR headache (taking a deceased client’s estate to court to contest benefits) by…sending out a series of automated responses on Twitter. There’s no better way to confirm your status as a heartless corporation than by responding to tragedy with robotic corporate messages. You can type “our heart goes out to…” all you want, but members of the public are surprisingly adept at calling out this sort of thing.

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What Do Commercial-Inspired Halloween Costumes Mean for Brands?

As the weekend approaches, you’re likely planning your costume for an upcoming Halloween party (or if you’re like us, you started planning in July). This PRNewser writer went to her first Halloween-themed extravaganza of the season as Flo from the Progressive Insurance ads (picture below).

I initially chose the costume simply because I think Flo is adorable (in a creepy, Stepford Wives sort of way), and because a recent donation to Locks of Love left my hair just short enough to pull it off. But then my costume choice got my PR-oriented brain thinking — superheroes, storybook characters, and familiar faces from TV and movies are always popular costume choices, but what does it mean from a PR and branding standpoint when a character created solely for an ad campaign becomes enough of a pop culture symbol to warrant Halloween costumes?

Insurance companies seem to have the market cornered on popular mascots (probably because insurance is duller than dirt without them). GEICO‘s Gecko, Progressive‘s Flo, and Allstate‘s Mayhem bring personality and humor to an otherwise much-maligned product, and however people might feel about insurance itself, they adore these characters. Case in point: while wandering around a costume shop, I saw a pre-made, pre-bagged “Insurance Lizard” costume hanging between the ever-popular Jack Sparrow and Spiderman.

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Progressive in Trouble, Act 3: Godin Lays the Smack Down

We know you all spent the weekend wondering where marketing guru Seth Godin stands on the ongoing Progressive Insurance scandal, right? Look no further!

Despite the claims of semi-autonomous entity Mitt Romney*, Godin does not believe that corporations are people, and he uses the Progressive incident as the starting point for an extended riff on why that issue is significant. The rant is a bit wordy for the famously short-winded Godin; seems like this case really got under his skin like it did for so many other Americans.

He starts with the newer, longer response that Progressive posted on their blog on August 16th. Was this post a little more substantial than the first? Yes. Did Progressive still use evasive language to avoid addressing the fact that their lawyer sat with the defendant in order to help convince the jury that their own customer was at least partially to blame for the crash that took her life? Oh yeah. The Progressive post is painful to read, especially this sentence:  Read more