There’s one guarantee when a company mascot achieves iconic status: if the brand is demonized, she will be too. In the case of Flo, Progressive Insurance’s crimson-lipped spokes-gal, she has been slammed along with the insurance firm after the brother of a policyholder who died in a car crash published a Tumblr post stating that Progressive “refused to pay the policy to my sister’s estate.”
But Progressive is sticking by its bouffant-wearing babe and backing her with a significant Facebook ad buy today. When users log out of their Facebook accounts, they’ll see an ad featuring Flo and her price gun. “Try our Name your Price tool to start saving today,” notes the post associated with the large ad image.
The ad links to the Flo the Progressive Girl page on Facebook, where the most recent post was made August 13, the day comedian Matt Fisher published an anti-Progressive post on his Tumblr, titled, “My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court.”
Like most of Flo’s Facebook and Twitter comments, the last post from Flo on Facebook was fairly innocuous: “Is it possible to have déjà vu of déjà vu?” An accompanying photo of Flo featured the hashtag #FloWonders, which since has been used in Twitter posts ridiculing the company.
— KngtRdr (@KngtRdr) August 15, 2012
Since Fisher’s post went viral, hundreds of people reportedly claimed to have dropped Progressive, many saying so on Twitter.
However, the Facebook ads seem to be counteracting some of the negativity. In the past couple hours, Flo’s Facebook page grabbed around 1,800 additional likes, presumably as a result of the logout page ad.
A variety of brands have used the Facebook logout ad option – which features a much larger image than other Facebook ad units – including Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer, Ford Mustang, Subway, and Samsung.