Progressive Warns of 'Parentamorphosis' in Flo-less Campaign

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In advance of the great helping of togetherness families will be getting this Thursday, Progressive Insurance is debuting a new campaign that highlights the changes that occur after people buy a home and become more like their parents. Called "Young Homeowners," the new marketing dubs the changes, like when a woman adopts the tube sock attire of her father and a man chastises his wife for leaving the lights on, "parentamorphosis." It's a term Mayfield Village, Ohio-based Progressive coined after more than a year of research.

"When you buy that first home, it's such a huge investment, a scary investment—and that grown-up switch clicks on," said Jeff Charney, chief marketing officer at Progressive. He noted that the company worked with a behavioral psychologist to come up with the campaign, which has broad appeal since most people own homes and all have parents. "It's an ode to your parents, it's not making fun of your parents," he added.

Some of the insights are derived from Mr. Charney's own experiences. The father of five counts "Do you think we own stock in the electric company?" and "Money doesn't grow on trees!" as two favorite laments of his parents, Shirley and Alan Charney.

The new push includes two 30-second spots, directed by Roman Coppola, debuting this week on broadcast TV, and a two-minute digital video. The actors in the spot are improv actors, like the brand's famous Flo spokeswoman. This is the first time in two years that Progressive has created a Flo-less campaign, though the red-lipstick-loving icon will remain prominent in other marketing, Mr. Charney said. "It does not replace Flo by any means, it's a complement to the overall strategy," he said.

In the spots, a voiceover says, "Progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents, but we can protect your home and auto."

Mr. Charney noted that the campaign will ramp up in the spring, which is traditionally the popular home-buying season. The new strategy continues the brand's quest to become known for its home insurance policies rather than just its auto offerings. Progressive, which spent $515.9 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media, worked with Arnold Worldwide on the new campaign, along with its in-house agency, 96 Octane.

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