Creativity 50:
Jeff Charney, CMO, Progressive

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Jeff Charney
Jeff Charney

What started as an initiative to spruce up Progressive's Cleveland headquarters, is, more than three decades later, an example of how any corporation--even what once was a staid insurance company--can infuse creativity into its DNA. Progressive founded a corporate art department in the 1980s, followed by an art education program open to all staff and guided art tours for the public. Its massive collection of art allows the company to behave like a large private collector or museum -- acquiring and selling pieces every year. "We're fortunate to have one of the largest modern art collections with more than 7,500 extreme, thought provoking pieces (no fruit bowls or landscapes here), and extends to the cool vibe the minute you set foot in our diverse and casual campuses," said Progressive CMO Jeff Charney. "With that kind of creative canvas, it's easy to inject a range of brand disruptors, like marching bands, gospel choirs, mosh pits, rappers, cool employee tattoos (albeit temporary), motorcycles going down the hallways, tent-like revival type events...on and on. But it just can't be internal disruption for disruption's sake. You can't try too hard. It all must tie back to an 'inside-out' strategic vision that starts with your CEO channeling that unbridled inside creativity to bold external brand icons like 'Flo' and the 'Messenger' on the outside."

See the rest of the 2012 Creativity 50 here.

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