The Progressive Insurance Girl: Love Her Or Hate Her?

Even these days, a campaign with plenty of cash behind it will infiltrate the consciousness of America. So it is with the campaign featuring “Flo,” The Progressive Insurance girl, played by actress Stephanie Courtney.

I see these ads all the time. (And you can see all of them here.)

I’m just curious what our readers think of this campaign. Like it? Hate it? Don’t care? It ain’t going away, that’s for sure.

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About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • http://godsofadvertising.wordpress.com Steffan Postaer

    DB-
    Even by your reticence, you’re being kind…
    She is the female version of the “Do You Hear Me Now?” guy. Worse. If any of your readers -and I mean any- find her to be at all appealing I will be stunned.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    @Steffan
    I’m not being kind. It’s Danny G.’s post and I don’t edit him unless I have to ;-d
    As for my opinion of the work, I would never recommend that a client set out to annoy people. However, when up against The Martin Agency and their slough of Geico cavemen, British-sounding lizards and other quirky spokesicons, I would suggest that a client do whatever it takes to get peoples’ attention. Flo has our attention. But will we buy insurance from her?

  • yikes

    Martin are also the evil minds behind Free Credit Report.

  • Prog Rock

    I’ve been a Progressive customer for several years now, because they’ve always done well by me and give me discounts when i demand it ;).
    I also keep Progressive because Mr. Lewis (big guy behind Progressive) is a George Soros-style politically progressive multibillionare and i’d rather my paltry premiums go to his company than the typical right wing robber barons.

  • http://www.adpulp.com Danny G.

    @ Steffan–
    It was me, not David, that posted this.
    Maybe you can enlighten us. I know you probably didn’t bump uglies with Tony the Tiger in your time at Leo Burnett, but you did work in the house that famous spokespeople and “critters” built. So what exactly did they think was the lasting appeal of a spokesperson (or critter) like this woman?
    As for me, I’ve seen way worse campaigns than this. Not saying it’s great, not saying it’s horrible. But some people, clearly, like this campaign. Otherwise, it’d be long gone. And hey, we’ve got 5 comments on this so far, when no one responded to my NYC ad agency post from yesterday. So it hits somewhat of a nerve.

  • http://www.brandflakesforbreakfast.com darryl ohrt

    I am absolutely totally in love with the Progressive girl. I find her totally hot. Pretty sure I’m not alone:
    http://www.austin360.com/tv/content/tv/stories/2008/10/1020progressive.html

  • http://sinpantalones.squarespace.com Elise

    Aww, I love her. I think she’s a hoot, not to mention cute as a button. And this from someone who usually doesn’t care for characters/critters.
    They are effective, though, and yes, once they invade our brains, they do sell product. LB proved time after time how powerful those associations can be. Tony the Tiger, Mr. Whipple, Toucan Sam, the chihuahua, the gecko, those wretched cavemen, the Roaming Gnome, the doughboy. You don’t even have to think to name the brand with which they’re all associated. And when you’re sitting in front of the computer, trying to come up with insurers from whom you should request a quote, I’ll bet you recall Flo, the gecko, and Dennis Haysbert, the State Farm guy with the incredibly reassuring voice before the others. It’s not a question of, “Would they buy insurance from this woman?” It’s simply about brand recall.

  • http://godsofadvertising.wordpress.com Steffan Postaer

    O…M…G…
    Some folks are not only not annoyed by this chick but are actually “crushing” on her?!
    Regardless of that strange fetish, I will not back down. The Progressive Girl is a pox on adland!
    Danny-
    While it’s true that certain annoying characters have ingrained themselves in pop culture (Madge, Mr. Whipple), I still find them a torture. I think we “love to hate” these types, which, I suppose, is a partial victory.
    PS: Who doesn’t like Tony the Tiger? He’s Greattttt!

  • Kat

    I can’t STAND her character and these ads – what a BIMBO! You say funny?! WHERE is there any comedy or humor?! DITZ is NOT funny. It is VERY passe humor and sorry, I just cannot stand watching or listening to this woman…. I actually have to shut the TV off or leave the room as my stomach starts to turn.
    Also, as I am an insurance agent in 45 US States, take my strong advice: Don’t believe the BS Progressive is throwing you…. do your OWN shopping around. Progressive offers great rates in many places and for different driving records, they do not offer great rates for everybody(just like EVERY carrier). They are especially decent if you have incidents on your record however they may or may not be the best rate you can get. And don’t believe any agent who tells you they shopped every carrier and got you the best rate out there. They lie because there is not one broker that has been licensed to carry every insurance company. SHOP AROUND! A little known company in California and in Oregon offers THE lowest rates that I have found. They have an A+ rating with the appropriate agencies which is a lot more than many of them. The company is Wawanesa, http://www.wawanesa.com/
    I am with them. I have been in an accident, they came out to my home to see the car the very next day! It was the other party’s fault, they had a check cut for me one day after the adjuster came out. EXCEPTIONAL. For the heck of it though, I decided to get quotes with other agencies. AARP Hartford – what a joke! I think it was close to 4 times as much. Mercury, which is known to be one of THE lowest rates in the LA area and So Cal was DOUBLE. They quoted me a price for 6 months and I laughed, told the agent I was paying LESS than that for a one year policy with Wawanesa. Forget about AAA and 21st Century – in most places. There are a few scattered spots where they might be good but with ANY carrier, things change all the time. Wawanesa does not spend money on advertising, it is all word of mouth as this is one way to keep rates down…. PLUS to save their customers from obnoxious FLO-Like Ditzes…. for those of you who like her, good for you. Different strokes for different Flo-kes. Have a nice night and happy driving. Egads… she just came on again in the other room…. I have to vomit….

  • Bridget

    Hate her. Can’t they move. Not only are they annoying ads, but they are no where near original any more. Someday hopefully, they will put the cavemen and Flo back intheir cave for eternity.
    And no, I would never buy from a company who believes cavemen and fake people are the best way to represent their company in ads.

  • Robert Zuckschwerdt

    I love the Flo commercials for Progressive, she’s got personality plus!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Larry D

    I love this gal, if they all had such a good sense of humor we would all be better off. It seems funny to me that all women hate her, makes me love her more. Keep up the good work Steph, call me.xoxoxo

  • state farm lover

    I am sure she is a nice person in “real life,” but if anyone remembers the first one she was in, she was not “Flo” and was not as wacky as she is now. She threw in a bunch of lame extras and middle america eats it up. She is annoying as hell. Also, Progressive sucks.

  • http://www.savvyness.com/progressive-girl Progressive Girl

    I think FLO is the greatest girl to represent Progressive. She has made a name for herself in the commercial that i seem never to get tired of. Go FLO!

  • dude

    Worst ads on tv. Thank God for the remote!

  • Jim

    I don’t have a problem with Flo the character, just the continual bombardment of every TV station in the country, 24/7! Enough is enough! These ads are as bad as the Geico cavemen! Please give us all a break and come up with a new ad campaign, or at least only run Flo 300 times a day instead of non-stop!

  • Bruce

    Its getting as anoying as the geico cavemen were.
    Time to change this stupid progrssive theme!

  • R DONOVAN

    I JUST CHANGED INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THE 1ST ONE I THOUGHT OF WAS PROGRESSIVE DUE TO ITS CONSTANT BARRAGE OF ADS ON TV. I THOUGHT ABOUT THE TWIT CALLED FLO AND DECIDED THE AD AGENCY DOESN’T HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF ADVERTISING. YOU DONT WANT TO TURN OFF BUT TO TURN ON.

  • sandy s

    she’s just as annoying as those freakin’ cavemen and that lizard have become. time for a change. she looks like she’s made of plastic, brain included

  • billy

    she is the most annoying woman on tv…if i were at a party and she was there i would be long gone…how would any man find her sexy is beyond me..the minute she opens her goofy mouth it would be all over….time for a change PLEEEEEEEZE!!!

  • Dave Morelli

    Stephanie is terrific, she is perfect to represent your company. The more I see her the more I love her.What ever you do keep her she is the best…

  • http://www.gigmasters.com/entertainer/joeelvisborelli Joe Borelli

    I think Flo is perfect . She is ‘Silly serious ‘and the people that dont get it are usualy people without humor,they just dont understand things out of the box.Im a Elvis impersonator and the same people think that i think im Elvis as Sean Connery realy thinks hes James Bond.These people that dont get Flo.are the same and live in a very closeted world.
    Thanks /JB

    • Anonymous

      I have a sense of humor. I imagine her in strange sexual scenarios, but the bottom line is the sarcastic seriousness joke has run it’s course.
      Now if only we could do something about the gecko, the caveman, and that guy who founded Taxmasters, and those computer animated Pop Tarts kids choking down their most important sugary meal of the day.

  • Zeke

    I agree with JB now you can see why Kat is upset ..his company didnt think of this first!!!ha ha
    Zeke

  • Greg

    CANT STAND HER!!! Get her off the air! She got my attention all right, in a bad way!

  • steve Bonini

    Hate it.

  • ZENYATTA

    Shes the worst. I mute the tv or change the channel upon sight. Shes a bit disturbing to look at too. The customer characters are just as annoying she is…and that damn repeating jingle in the background! If youve never noticed it you will now and you’ll hate it even more. Cheers!

  • Jedinate

    I couldn’t care less about the commercials, but I’m oddly attracted to the cute girl in them, so I leave ‘em on.

  • Charlie

    She is absolutely annoying. Shes so pale and geeky looking. Nothing about her is appealing. Geico has the right idea, stick with animals as your main spokesman, never go with average looking people. Your less likely to get mad over an animal than a less than attractive, plain looking, female or male spokesman.

    • Alvarez7179

      It’s actually the makeup that’s makes her so unapealing. But she’s not that ugly though

  • amy

    Flo and her super annoying Bumpit have to go. I don’t even know what she sells.
    She looks like a mouth breather.

  • dez

    i simply cannot stand her. [: every time i see the commercial i change the channel!! definitely doesnt make me wanna switch to progressive either.. if anything thats the last insurance i would think about having.

  • Bobby

    She is beyond obnoxious in those Progressive ads. I can’t find the mute button fast enough when it airs. I don’t know anyone who likes her or the horribly misguided campaign. It’s bad advertising. I wouldn’t even think about buying a policy from Progressive.

  • rakl

    If it was not illegal to do so, I would gadly offer a decent sum of money for someone to torture and kill the Progressive lady. Unfortunatly, it is illegal so I can not say that I would pay someone to kill her slowly and film it for distribution on the internet. Too bad it is illegal to ask that someone slowly cook her alive in a mixture of used motor oil and mule crap. Too bad. “I have a dream!”

  • rakl

    I am not a religous man, but I will pray for the Progressive lady. I will pray that she gets cancer and dies quickly……..and unbelievebly painfully. Where are drunk drivers when you need one?

  • George

    I hate these ads. They are “anti-advertising,” creating an actual aversion to the products and company they are supposed to be promoting. I can’t change the channel quick enough when this pasty-faced, doughy, clown-woman assaults my eyes and ears. I wouldn’t accept a policy from Progressive if it was free.

  • pa62girl

    I hate those stupid Progressive commercials so much, I just canceled my auto and home policies with them.

  • Anonymous

    Hate ‘em- The Gecko, the Caveman, The pale psychotic Progressive woman! Gee, Geico, couldn’t I save 75% if you didn’t advertise evry 15 minutes on all the networks and channels?
    Suggestion : caveman steps on Gecko. Eats Gecko. Get’s hit by a car. Joe Friday character spokesman arrives on scene, begins assesment. Progressive Girl fallls on him and bothare  killed instantly. Geico goes back to commercial parody era. Progressive burns store.

    • Rizzasteve

      Or what about those ridiculous ads for Farmers’ Ins., Esurance, State Farm, and Nationwide?  When I see that skinny, creepy Nationwide dude, I have the urge to reach through the screen and wring his scrawny neck. It seems that the less stupid the advertising, the better quality of product. Amica Ins. is great, I have been a long time customer of theirs and their customer service, coverage, and rates are really good. And their ads are very simple and talk about coverage instead of savings.

  • Moskii58

     I  detest the  “Flo / Progressive ”  Insurance ads  .. They are so stupid, and Flo’s banter and mannerisms are ridiculous..  ie>  “Go  Big Money”  no honey, i meant go,  it’s your lunch break”
    now is that suppose to be funny??  wow   and the amt of times i see these ads, i just immed turn the sound off.. I just wish  Flo & all those ads would just  “GO AWAY”….

    • Rizzasteve

      The poor black dude in that ad looks traumatized when that Big Money thing is dancing around him. “That will sure stick with me”, he says.

    • Alvarez7179

      I agree, flo is soo annoying. Every time those stupid ads come on I have to turn the channel, I wish I could throw a big grapefruit right at her big clown face

  • HmHank

    The commercials annoy me like nails on a chalkboard.  I can only think of horrible things when they are on.  The sterile white environment, with the awful xylophone melody instantly brings the images from the movie “Soylent Green” when “Sol” goes to the facility to end his life, where everybody is bubbly and happy and mentally twisted.

    Progressive is garbage insurance.  I have had them, Geico, AIG.  It’s like the Wal-mart of insurance companies.  Cut rate and low quality.

    On a personal note I was in an accident with progressive insurance.  The car that caused the accident by illegally turning left in front of my car had progressive insurance.  When my car hit them it sent them spinning into a 3rd car that also had progressive insurance.  What a coincidence!  The person in the 3rd car “claimed” to have severe injuries.  To cover thier costs progressive assed me “partially responsable” so they could tap my policy benefits to cover thier costs. I wasn’t claiming to be injured so it was a property damage case, because I only lost $6000 from the value of my car vs. thier payment to me.  My lawyer couldn’t get anywhere without escalating this to a court case but for the mere 6K didn’t want to.   This is how insurance works.  Spread the risk around a pool of individuals.

    Cut rate insrance companies really streamline the process when you have a claim.  Progressive’s “claim center” will fix your car and gurantee the repairs for as long as you own the car.  BEWARE!!!!  If it is a lease car, when you turn the car in, the dealer may find non-OEM parts and assess a bill for the difference because the repairer used cheaper, aftermarket parts.  This can happen if you trade the car in also. 

    All in all, these commercials aren’t creative.  They insult my intelligence.  They try to present common knowledge as some amazing concept they invented.  The woman “Flo” is made up to literally look like a clown.  Progressive is very expensive insurance compared to a company like Amica (car), and Dairyland (cycle) whom I use.  All those advertising dollars have to come from somewhere, because the revenues are not going into a quality product!       

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1485657056 Mrss Dlane

    so lame and annoying i always switch when it comes to this commercial n the girl

  • Dmcivi

     Everyone in my house(7 of us) thinks she is so annoying but I guess that’s the point to remember Progressive Insurance. You can’t forget Progressive because you can’t forget Flo.

  • Frank King99

    Hate it….what happened to advertising?…..Casting?…..yech….awful time wasting drek

  • Yo

    I cannot stand Flo!!!!   She is VERY annoying, and she looks like the Joker from the Batman films.  I would commit suicide if she were my wife. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/paladuguravikiran RaviKiran Paladugu

    Hate her!!!

  • kim

    These commercials could not be more annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Heydrewp

    Love it and I even rewind to watch it multiple times and laugh and laugh with amusement.

  • Anonymous

    Scary to look at, like waking up to see a scarecrow looking over you. When she says, “Go Big Money” it sounds like she is speaking in a faux Black dialect, because the couple with her in that commercial are Black.

  • Bob

    Can’t stand her…get that dumb bimbo off my TV screen!

  • Shayne Weiley2

    Typical Michael WEiley ad……boring, dry…..left field……..get a new marketing company.

  • YOLO

    She is prehaps the most annoying character ever, including anyone on Spongebob ugghh *le sigh*

  • jcecil

    I don’t even know what the commercials are about since I hit the mute button as soon as they appear.  What’s with that bizarre 1950′s makeup and hairdo anyhow?  They should be Recessive, not Progressive Ins. Co.

  • Gwennie

    She has the most terrifying eyes and acts like an idiot.  I use my mute button every time and wouldn’t buy that insurance if it was the most inexpensive in town.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WO2S7QPBVXKNLB4VDVGHHUVXDA Dori

    I wouldn’t buy a policy from Progressive for anything because of the Flo commercials.  She repulses me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.cooley Eric Cooley

    The fact that an insurance ad has everyone chiming in–on a very emotional level–I find amusing. Progressive keeps going back to the well, so to speak, so it must be working. 
    BTW. Fun-fact: Stephanie Courtney (aka Flo) was a minor character on MadMen; she played a switchboard operator for S+C on the shows inaugural run.

    • Brcelinski

      If ‘working’ to you means that it’s making everyone hate Progressive and pledge never to be their customer, then, sure, it’s working.

  • saduslover

    Many in advertising say that it does not matter whether we love or hate a commercial, only that we remember the name of the product.    Probably true…but I personally feel there is a risk of developing such antagonism towards a commercial or character that people will remember the name SO THAT THEY WILL REMEMBER NOT TO BUY IT.  Flo and Progressive may have reached that tipping point!

  • Jeffhome10

    shes the greatest–her self confidence and bubbly personality means sexuality.  a female that is happy sexually appears that way in person..  if she was miserable in bed she would not and could not fake–coming across like she does

  • Jpking11

    Absolutly hate it. I will never buy progressive because of the torture you put me through with you damn commercials.

  • Doug

    Wost marketing campaign ever. I absolutely can’t stand this annoying, unfunny bitch. It sucks that I have to see her on my television eighty times a day.

  • tayriley

    she is fucking obnoxious and im sick of these damn commercials. i would never get progressive insurance based on how much they annoy me by making these dumb waste of film pieces of shit.

  • Linn

    Well, I can actually tolerate the gecko because he’s cute in a weird sort of way, but Flo is not only ugly and goofy looking with that red lipstick and those bug eyes, but she’s just plain sickening. The Progressive commercials are so overdone that I wouldn’t even consider buying their insurance. I’m sick of my tv screen being saturated constantly with her stupid face and those incredibly idiotic commercials. Enough is enough. Say NO to FLO.

  • Cheryl

    I HATE these commercials!! Flo is beyond annoying! I mute the TV everytime it’s on! FLO, GO AWAY!

  • passerby

    I find the “Flo” commercials annoying and unpleasant, and the Flo character likewise. I hit the “mute” button as soon as one comes on. …BUT, here’s the thing – before this ad campaign I had never even heard of Progressive Insurance. So make of that what you will.

  • Don

    I saw a statistic that said that 52% of the people polled said the “flo” commercials annoyed them. It is perhaps the only commercial that, when on, I will change the channel because it’s on. She truly annoys me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shychica Debbie Murphy

    I hate Flo!!!! those commercials make me want to yank my hair out!!!!!

  • MS

    These commercials are so over played that as soon as I hear that obnoxious voice I change the station IMMEDIATELY! It is now a game to see how quickly I can switch. I would never spend money with a company that has made fingernails on a blackboard a more appealing sound than their commercial.

  • ozziesmare

    She’s more annoying than fingernails on a chalkboard~I cancelled my Progressive auto insurance 2 years back because of her…I can’t stand her!!!

    • ozziesmare

      HA, if I had read the comments before I posted, I would’ve been a tad more original, as “annoying” and the chalkboard analogy are overwhelmingly popular with ppl describing the feelings she evokes~she is nauseating, gotta go!

  • Floseph

    Wow, you people are harsh. Yes, she is pale, but I don’t find her annoying or worthy of such hate.