UPDATED: Progressive has quietly taken down the ad. We’re just going to go ahead and take credit for this one. Also embedded video from different source since they killed the YouTube version, and added some screenshots above the video in case that goes down as well.
At a time when Americans are scared shitless of an Ebola pandemic, calling for increased border security against imagined infection-bearing terrorist cells and snatching up thousand-dollar rubber “specialized body suits,” you’d think that any allusions to the dreaded disease would be avoided like, well, the plague by American corporations not fully vested in the fear business.
Then again you have Progressive Insurance, whose quirky television advertisements have–for some inexplicable reason–made their retro manic pixie protagonist, Flo (and the comedian who plays her) something of a star. Flo has appeared in over 50 ads for Progressive, most often finding herself in “ironic” or bizarro situations involving cutesy interactions with the accident-prone.
In a an ad airing now, Flo is helping a customer in one of her usual haunts–a post-modern minimalist sales floor featuring glowing shelves of insurance quotes–when one of her coworkers steps on a price-tag, setting off a red-alert style alarm and flashing lights. Apparently Progressive hates price-tags. Three men in hazmat suits swarm in, carry the offending guy away to a decontamination zone, and spray him down as he squints, yelling at them comically that “this seems excessive.”
Maybe it’s just me, but the ad does seem a bit excessive considering the current national climate. I’m not one to take offense easily, and I’m not here; but I am thinking the ad seems a tad distasteful at the moment. Really, though, I just can’t imagine how a television commercial featuring big dudes in hazmat suits detaining infected employees as comedy could be an effective sales tool right now.
Then again, I guess Progressive–despite its whimsical airs–is really just an insurance company, fully vested in the fear business.
Here’s the video (edit: four screenshots appear first), posted to
YouTube in June iSpot.tv, though, as I mentioned, airing now: