MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio — November 21 2011 —Progressive® Insurance is taking its character The Messenger—and its message—out of the traditional scripted and staged environment, and is sending him on the road to help real people faced with small, but unavoidable, everyday charges.
"The Progressive brand has always been about helping people with real needs, so we’re keeping it real with this innovative campaign," said Glenn Renwick, chief executive officer of Progressive. "Prices and fees for the simplest everyday transactions keep rising, and things are getting harder for people to manage. With The Messenger, we want America to see that there’s a person—and a company—who’s trying to make life just a little bit fairer."
The Messenger represents a Progressive customer who’s so passionate about his Progressive experience that he wants to spread the message—and the money he saved on his auto insurance—wherever he goes. He was first introduced in a series of "traditional" scripted ads that began airing late last year, but growing interest and curiosity in the character created an opportunity to take him in this new, bolder direction.
"When he appeared in public, people instantly gravitated to him. I’ve never seen anything like it," said Jeff Charney, chief marketing officer of Progressive. "He struck a chord, and we quickly realized that The Messenger—and his message—works best when we simply let him interact with real people in real situations, when they’re facing small everyday 'pain points'."
The Messenger will travel the country in his classic Pontiac GTO, randomly finding people who face a pain point and could use a little help. He’ll be unscripted and unrehearsed. Depending on where he is and what he sees, The Messenger might fill up someone’s gas tank, pick up the tab for their morning coffee, cover their baggage charges at the airport, buy snacks from a hotel minibar, or take care of their ATM fees.
And it’s about much more than saving money. The Messenger will help with savings of all kinds—like saving time, saving energy, and even saving face when it’s needed. It’s a response to a growing sense that people are giving more and more while getting less in return.
A small, unobtrusive video crew will trail The Messenger, and television spots and online videos will simply feature excerpts from these spontaneous "random acts of savings."
"Small gestures can send a big message," said Charney. "Over time we think The Messenger can become a symbol, inspiring others to take the savings or help they might receive on any given day—whether it’s from Progressive or any other source—and 'save it forward' to someone else who needs it. As word gets out, we hope this grows from a campaign into a movement."
The campaign began last week with kickoff spots airing in select markets, followed by the broadcast of selected "random acts of savings" later in the year and into 2012. The spots can also be seen on www.progressive.com.
Progressive is bucking conventional advertising wisdom by launching the campaign during the Thanksgiving holiday, because it believes that it’s a time when people reflect more on what’s important in life (and are also more likely to encounter some of those frustrating charges.)
It will be a highly integrated effort, covering a range of traditional and new media. As the campaign grows, The Messenger will increasingly use social media to hear about new everyday costs that he can lend a hand with, as well as finding people in need of his help.
In addition to these new spots featuring The Messenger, Progressive’s flagship campaign, Superstore, will also air a series of new spots featuring Flo, Progressive’s iconic spokeswoman. The two characters are complementary—Flo is inside the Superstore, helping insurance shoppers find new ways to save; The Messenger is a satisfied customer, out on the road, spreading his message and randomly saving it forward.
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies makes it easy to understand, buy and use auto insurance. Progressive offers choices so consumers can reach us whenever, wherever and however it's most convenient for them — online at progressive.com, by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE, or in-person with a local agent.
Progressive offers insurance for personal and commercial autos and trucks, motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles and homes. It's the fourth largest auto insurer in the country, the largest seller of motorcycle insurance and a leader in commercial auto insurance. Progressive also offers car insurance online in Australia at http://www.progressiveonline.com.au.
Founded in 1937, Progressive continues its long history of offering shopping tools and services that save customers time and money, like Name Your Price®, the Snapshot Discount®, and a concierge level of claims service.
The Common Shares of The Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR.