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Posts Tagged ‘Progressive Insurance’

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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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

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Progressive Update: No Mo Flo?

Hey, how is Progressive Insurance dealing with their ongoing PR imbroglio? If you guessed “running around like a headless chicken”, then you just might be correct!

According to Business Insider, the company’s current state of (justifiable) panic may well lead them to send their favorite spokeswoman Flo on an extended vacation.

Well, somebody needs to do something—and fast. Progressive’s PR outlook hasn’t gotten any better since we first ran the story earlier this week. Matt Fisher, the comedian who first brought the controversy into the spotlight with his harrowing tale of legal battles in the wake of his sister’s tragic death, took to Tumblr yesterday to refute Progressive’s universally panned response to his initial post (not a great idea to enable comments on that company blog, by the way). Fisher insisted that Progressive’s in-house lawyer did in fact serve as counsel for the “underinsured” driver who caused the fatal accident–despite contrary claims from the company.

Wow. Tough to spin this one. Read more