Progressive Directs New Ads At Unseating Geico

For the record: This story first ran on Jan. 19 and incorrectly reported that television commercials starring Kenny Mayne were the work of Arnold Worldwide. In fact, the Kenny Mayne ads broke six months ago and were created by G-Whiz, a unit of Grey Global Group. The spots created by Arnold, which broke last week, are viewable

Progressive Direct, aiming to unseat direct competitor Geico, this week broke the first of a dozen new TV ads aimed at driving buyers to its Web site or call-in center to seek a quote and ultimately buy an auto insurance policy.

The so-called "Think" campaign introduces the new tagline: "Think easier. Think Progressive." Each spot focuses on a specific product feature or service attribute, and some spots aim at motorcyclists and boaters. Most feature former ESPN sports anchor and pseudo-actor Kenny Mayne delivering the pitch in an easygoing manner.



In a spot titled "Re-enactment," nothing happens--and that's exactly the point. A mom driving her kids home from school hits the brakes only to come to a safe stop at an intersection. "Events like this occur countless times every day," which is why Progressive Direct gives savings to good drivers.

An animated commercial (without Mayne) features four "fishing guys," and plays up the "disappearing deductible"--that is, drivers with no claims after four years pay no deductible. A second "fishing guys" spot targets boat owners to illustrate that Progressive Direct guarantees total boat replacement in the event of a catastrophe.

A spot targeting motorcyclists shows a dude trying on new jeans in a department store dressing room. When he steps out to view how he looks in a mirror, his thighs are disproportionately large. The voiceover asks: "Is this what your insurance company thought when you told them you have saddle bags?"

These are the first ads from Boston-based Arnold, which last fall won the creative portion of Progressive Direct's estimated $150 million account after a review. At that time, Arnold president Pam Hamlin said: "We fully intend to give Geico a run for its money."

It'll be up to consumers to decide if they prefer Mayne to the Gekko, Geico's pop spokes-lizard. So far, the Mayfield Village, Ohio, Progressive ranks third in the nation for private passenger and commercial auto insurance and No. 1 for motorcycle insurance based on premiums written.

Earlier this week, parent company, Progressive Corp., reported that fourth-quarter profit had risen 42%, which it attributed to fewer claims being paid to insurance holders. Progressive's net income increased to $400.9 million, or 53 cents per share, from $281.6 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier.

Next story loading loading..