Flo (Progressive)

Flo is a fictional salesperson character appearing in more than 100 commercials for Progressive Corporation, beginning in 2008. Portrayed by actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney, the character has developed a fan base on social networks and has become an iconic advertising mascot.[1][2][3]

Flo, as portrayed by actress Stephanie Courtney
First appearance2008
Created byArnold Worldwide
Portrayed byStephanie Courtney
CompanyProgressive Corporation
AliasThe Progressive Girl
OccupationInsurance salesperson

Broadcast history

The character debuted in 2008 through several television commercials and has since appeared in radio and print advertisements and web banners. "Flo", an upbeat store employee for Progressive Corporation, was created by the Boston-based agency Arnold Worldwide,[4] specifically copywriter John Park and art director Steve Reepmeyer.[5]

In 2011, Progressive introduced an Australian counterpart to Flo, named Kitty,[6] played by Australian actress Holly Austin.[7]

As of November 2014, Flo had appeared in 100 commercials.


Flo is a cashier and is recognizable by her extreme enthusiasm, name tag, sparkling white no-wrinkles uniform, upbeat personality, heavy makeup, and retro hairstyle. According to Courtney, it takes one hour to prepare Flo's hair and another to apply her make-up.[8] A December 15, 2008, article in Advertising Age described Flo as "a weirdly sincere, post-modern Josephine the Plumber who just really wants to help. She has; the brand is flourishing."[9] This was later echoed in an article from Duane Dudek in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 20, 2014, who credits Flo for inspiring a new trend of female commercial pitch people and cementing her legacy alongside Josephine and Palmolive Dishwashing Detergent's Madge the Manicurist.[10]

Flo's family

In November 2014, Progressive aired its 100th advertisement featuring Flo and introduced other members of her family including her mother, father, brother, sister, and grandfather. All of these characters were also played by Courtney, who was reported to have spent about 12 hours doing hair and makeup transitions for the recording.[11]


In October 2009, the Boston Herald referred to Flo as "the commercial break's new sweetheart" and said Courtney was "attaining TV ad icon status". The same article also reported that she was the subject of a popular Halloween costume. At that time, a Facebook page called "Flo, the Progressive Girl" had garnered a little over one million fans. As of January 18, 2015, the Facebook page has more than 5.43 million likes. There are multiple websites dedicated to her, and she is popular on Twitter and various internet forums.[12] While Flo’s brand has reached fans, the volume of commercials and the type of humor is off-putting to others, placing her into the category of "love her or hate her." [13][14] Fan interest notwithstanding, Courtney's own opinion is that the GEICO gecko "puts out more sexual vibes than Flo does".[15]

Flo was added as a downloadable character in the video game ModNation Racers in late 2010, complete with her own Progressive kart.[16][17]


  1. Garcia, Chris (October 20, 2008). "The Strange Allure of the Progressive Insurance Girl". Austin American-Statesman. ISSN 1553-8451. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  2. Inman, David (December 14, 2008). "TV Q&A with David Inman". Boston Herald. ISSN 0738-5854. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  3. Scholer, Makeli (September 2, 2009). "Who is This Girl in Progressive Insurance TV Commercials?". AMS Insurance.
  4. Staff (2011). "Progressive". Arnold Worldwide. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  5. "Check Out". Brickyard VFX. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  6. Staff (2012). "Home". Australia: Progressive Direct Insurance Company. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  7. Biography for Holly Austin on IMDb
  8. Parsley, Aaron (September 2, 2009). "5 Things to Know About TV's Progressive Insurance Lady". People. ISSN 0093-7673. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  9. Garfield, Bob (December 15, 2008). "The Bobby Awards". Advertising Age. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  10. Dudek, Duane (May 20, 2014). "Progressive's Flo extends a spokeswoman tradition that goes back to Josephine the Plumber". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Dudek Abides Blog.
  11. Ashley Rodriguez (November 12, 2014). "Flo's Progressive Evolution". Adage.com. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  12. Falcone, Lauren Beckham (October 7, 2009). "Insurance pitchgirl a surprise TV hit". Boston Herald. ISSN 0738-5854. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  13. "I Hate Progressive Insurance For Waking Me Up Over And Over" Check |url= value (help). Consumerist. October 24, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  14. "Progressive Insurance Commercial Hate". Commercialhate.blogspot.com. January 30, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  15. "Progressive Girl Has Strange Pull On WSB-TV Channel 2 Viewers". Atlanta, Georgia: WSB-TV. December 2, 2008. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  16. Coker, Jason (October 4, 2010). "ModNation Monday: Free Mod, 'Family Guy' Spotlight Next Week!". PlayStation.Blog (Sony Computer Entertainment America). Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  17. Russell, Ramone (November 15, 2010). "ModNation Monday: Carnival Parts Pack and 'Free' Progressive Kart next week!". PlayStation.Blog (Sony Computer Entertainment America). Retrieved June 2, 2012.
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