The popularity of Flo, the advertising mascot for Progressive Insurance, is often attributed to her cheery personality and a viewer's ability to relate to Flo's life experiences. Her defined role as a saleswoman in an insurance marketplace also helps viewers to understand her existence.
Progressive Insurance's initial idea for the Flo ad campaign came from an goal to make insurance shopping more tangible to consumers. Therefore, the ad agency designed commercials around an insurance superstore in which salespeople, such as Flo, offered help to customers. Flo's upbeat personality and perceived genuineness caused many viewers to form an affinity with the character. The genuineness came from the ad-libbed lines of Stephanie Courtney, the stand-up comedian who plays Flo's character.
Later in the ad campaign, Progressive began to add other characters to interact with Flo. These include fellow Progressive salesman Jamie, Pickles the dog and a pair of nameless insurance rivals. The new advertisements allowed Flo to further promote her personality and reveal her backstory.
Progressive Insurance noticed that customers were starting to tire of the campaign. The company took action by placing Flo in situations outside of the insurance marketplace, such as a romantic date and a reality show. These advertisements made Flo popular with television viewers again because the commercials further showed Flo's sense of humor.