Progressive Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts

Insurer Sponsors Ghostbusters Reboot With New Spots Starring Flo

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Progressive has cast a "Class 5 full-roaming vapor" in its latest campaign. Spoiler alert—it's Flo, and she's ready to slime. As part of the Mayfield, Ohio-based insurer's sponsorship of the new Ghostbusters film, which will hit theaters July 15, Progressive is running a series of spots that will air both on TV and before the movie.

In a 30-second spot, Progressive employee Jamie, decked out as a ghostbuster, visits a warehouse-type building and finds a ghostly Flo. "Jamie, the name your price tool can show you coverage options to fit your budget," Flo says in a spooky voice whilst wielding the price-naming product. Jamie gets slimed as he scrambles to shoot the vapor.

"We want to have fun and be a little self-deprecating," said Jeff Charney, chief marketing officer at Progressive. "We're entertaining people."

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In an alternate ending, the spot cuts to a Progressive outpost where Jamie is revealed to be playing with action figures, rather than acting as a real-life buster of ghosts. "This is probably more of a breakroom activity," he laments as Flo chastises him.

Both versions will air, along with 15-and 10-second cuts. Progressive also plans to use some of the material during Halloween.

The 79-year-old brand will also make its cinematic debut in the Ghostbusters movie—in one scene, a version of Flo can be seen on a Times Square billboard. It's the first time Progressive has integrated within a movie, Mr. Charney noted. The brand has previously sponsored films such as Despicable Me 2 and Tron: Legacy.

Progressive worked with Boston-based Arnold Worldwide on the creative. It also plans to promote a behind-the-scenes video of Flo getting ready for her ghastly debut digitally; the brand worked with Ghostbuster's own makeup and computer graphics staff.

While other insurers revitalize their marketing through new taglines and directions, Progressive has stuck with the tried-and-true Flo, who has been the spokeswoman for the company for nearly a decade. Allstate and State Farm recently unveiled new taglines and campaigns, and Nationwide is expected to release fresh marketing by fall. The Ghostbusters sponsorship is another example of what Mr. Charney calls "memory lane marketing," meant to evoke nostalgia among consumers. Earlier this year, the company, which spent $515.9 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media, rolled out a Bingo game for the Super Bowl and a spot featuring Flo and the Kool-Aid Man.

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