With the development of DVRs, TV shows on the internet, and on-demand programming, television advertising has fallen by the wayside. In this context, the breakout stardom of Stephanie Courtney as Flo, the perky spokesperson for Progressive Insurance , is somewhat surprising. The uninitiated can view some of Flo’s commercials on Progressive’s YouTube channel here.
Flo’s Facebook fanpage has over 500,000 fans and she was thrown out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game. The advertising has been effective too – Progressive’s sales numbers have been up even in this bad economy. What is even more surprising about Flo’s popularity is that her demeanor and her attitude toward her job seems entirely incongruous with the general feeling among North Americans today. Flo loves her job. She is completely jazzed about saving people money with nary a trace of sarcasm or boredom.
For better or for worse, life is not a commercial. Flo is a character who appears in 30 second spots and does not actually deal with the problems that exist in real life workplaces. Flo is also a character played by an actress. We have no idea whether Stephanie Courtney is as bubbly as her character or even whether playing such an effervescent character is invigorating or exhausting.
It is unlikely that anybody actually selling insurance at Progressive or any other company shares Flo’s can-do attitude and general cheerfulness 24 hours a day. Her popularity, however, does indicate that people like this attitude and perhaps we could all do with adding a bit of Flo to our outlooks on our jobs and lives.