Progressive Won’t Be in the Super Bowl, So It Put a Halftime Show in Its New Ad

Smash Mouth's cameo highlights the brand's 'memory lane marketing' approach

By David Griner

It’s been more than 20 years since Progressive last waded into Super Bowl advertising, resulting in a big-budget flop of an ad featuring E.T.—and, soon after, a search for intelligent life at a new ad agency.

The insurer hasn’t returned to the Big Game since and shows no desire to do so anytime soon, but one thing that certainly has changed since 1999 is Progressive’s status as an advertiser. Now second only to Geico in annual ad spend in a highly competitive category, Progressive has become one of America’s most omnipresent and well recognized advertisers.

Central to that success, and key to the insurer’s strong growth in recent years, is the combination of spokeswoman Flo, created by agency Arnold Worldwide in 2008, and CMO Jeff Charney, who joined from competitor Aflac in 2010.

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