Flo (Progressive Insurance)

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Flo
Flo from Progressive Insurance.jpg
Flo, as portrayed by actress Stephanie Courtney
First appearance 2008
Created by Arnold Worldwide
Portrayed by Stephanie Courtney
Company Progressive Insurance
Information
Aliases The Progressive Girl
Gender Female
Occupation Insurance salesperson
Nationality American

Flo is a fictional character appearing in more than 100 commercials for Progressive Insurance, beginning in 2008. Portrayed by actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney, the character has developed a fan base on social networks and has become an iconic advertising mascot.

Broadcast history[edit]

The character debuted in 2008 through television commercials and has since appeared in radio and print advertisements and web banners. "Flo," an upbeat store employee for Progressive Insurance, was created by the Boston-based agency Arnold Worldwide,[1] specifically copywriter John Park and art director Steve Reepmeyer.[2] She is played by actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney, and the character has a fan base on social networks.[3][4][5]

In 2011, Progressive introduced an Australian counterpart to Flo, named Kitty,[6] played by Australian actress Holly Austin.[7]

As of November 2010, she had appeared in 53 commercials.[dated info][8]

Characterization[edit]

Flo is a cashier and is recognizable by her extreme enthusiasm, name tag, sparkling white no-wrinkles uniform, upbeat personality, heavy makeup, and retro hairstyle. According to Courtney, it takes one hour to prepare Flo's hair and another to apply her make-up.[9] A December 15, 2008 article in Advertising Age described Flo as "a weirdly sincere, post-modern Josephine the Plumber who just really wants to help. She has: the brand is flourishing."[10] This was later echoed in an article from Duane Dudek in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 20, 2014, who credits Flo for inspiring a new trend of female commercial pitch people and cementing her legacy alongside Josephine and Palmolive Dishwashing Detergent's Madge the Manicurist.[11]

Popularity[edit]

In October 2009, the Boston Herald referred to the Progressive girl Flo as "the commercial break's new sweetheart" and said Courtney was "attaining TV ad icon status". The same article also reported that she was the subject of a popular Halloween costume. At that time, a Facebook page called "Flo, the Progressive Girl" had garnered a little over one million fans. As of August 2014, the Facebook page has more than 5.4 million likes. There are multiple websites dedicated to her, and she is popular on Twitter and various internet forums.[12]

Flo was added as a downloadable character in the video game ModNation Racers in late 2010, complete with her own Progressive kart.[13][14]

Fan interest notwithstanding, Courtney's opinion is that the GEICO gecko "puts out more sexual vibes than Flo does".[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff (2011). "Progressive". Arnold Worldwide. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Check Out". Brickyard VFX. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ Garcia, Chris (October 20, 2008). "The Strange Allure of the Progressive Insurance Girl". Austin American-Statesman. ISSN 1553-8451. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ Inman, David (December 14, 2008). "TV Q&A with David Inman". Boston Herald. ISSN 0738-5854. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ Scholer, Makeli (September 2, 2009). "Who is This Girl in Progressive Insurance TV Commercials?". AMS Insurance. 
  6. ^ Staff (2012). "Home". Australia: Progressive Direct Insurance Company. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  7. ^ Biography for Holly Austin at the Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ Elliott, Stuart (November 30, 2010). "A Nomadic Insurance Pitchman, Luring New Consumers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ Parsley, Aaron (September 2, 2009). "5 Things to Know About TV's Progressive Insurance Lady". People. ISSN 0093-7673. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  10. ^ Garfield, Bob (December 15, 2008). "The Bobby Awards". Advertising Age. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Progressive's Flo extends a spokeswoman tradition that goes back to Josephine the Plumber" from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (May 20, 2014)
  12. ^ Falcone, Lauren Beckham (October 7, 2009). "Insurance pitchgirl a surprise TV hit". Boston Herald. ISSN 0738-5854. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  13. ^ Coker, Jason (October 4, 2010). "ModNation Monday: Free Mod, 'Family Guy' Spotlight Next Week!". PlayStation.Blog (Sony Computer Entertainment America). Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  14. ^ Russell, Ramone (November 15, 2010). "ModNation Monday: Carnival Parts Pack and 'Free' Progressive Kart next week!". PlayStation.Blog (Sony Computer Entertainment America). Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Progressive Girl Has Strange Pull On WSB-TV Channel 2 Viewers". Atlanta, Georgia: WSB-TV. December 2, 2008. Retrieved June 2, 2012.