Progressive's manager of Emerging Media discusses multi-screen marketing, social gaming, and Flo as a pop icon
Editor's Note: It's a connected, multi-device world, says Chris Scott, manager of Emerging Media for Progressive Insurance, which embraces that philosophy in its advertising and marketing strategy. Scott will join other industry experts speaking on mobile, tablet and connected TV advertising tomorrow on the Connected Device Panel at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which is co-sponsored by Yahoo!. The Ad Blog asked Scott about Progressive's approach to multi-screen campaigns, interesting emerging trends, and how its popular spokesperson Flo is faring across devices.
Chris Scott: We consider media channels "emerging" until they reach a certain scale and degree of measurability. So in that sense, some platforms could always be "emerging." Social media, for example, is a constantly moving target, because the medium evolves and new opportunities surface. As a data-driven organization, we always seek to measure against clear objectives, but we require a certain level of standardization to change the classification.
A good example of something that's moved out of the "emerging" category for us is mobile search. It's achieved a significant scale with clearly defined performance metrics.
YAB: At last year's ANA Masters of Marketing Conference during the Yahoo! Question of the Day segment, we asked attendees: "Can you name a popular brand spokesperson?" Flo was mentioned more than once. Tell us how her character and brand association have developed online and offline?
CS: I can only speak to the online use of Flo, but we try to utilize her in areas that make sense for her persona. As a pop icon, she lends herself well to online integration and placements, and people are always excited to see her show up on "the second screen." Her online personality very much lives on her Facebook page, which at last count had more than four million fans.
Earlier this year, we capitalized on that popularity and collaborated with EA and The Sims Social (a social game that lives on Facebook) on their first branded quest. It was a fun integration that fit Flo's personality, with the prize being a unicorn lawn ornament. It also gave us the opportunity to have Sims Social players go through virtual actions that we'd like them to take in real life---such as getting a quote through their Sim's computer. Our goal is to put Flo in places online that will delight her audience, not just use Flo for the sake of using Flo.
YAB: Can you share Progressive's basic philosophy behind multi-screen marketing?
CS: We want to service Progressive customers and potential customers in whatever channel they prefer---to make it as easy as possible for you to interact with us in the means of your choosing. We strive to provide engaging content across all possible touch points to give people a great experience with our brand.
YAB: Which current industry trends are interesting to Progressive---and why?
CS: Social gaming is a big one right now, as recent statistics have shown a huge increase in the amount of people playing. It's a great way to reach consumers without being invasive. I mentioned Sims Social earlier, and that's one place where we were able to interact with consumers in a fun way that players really enjoyed. Real-time interaction with commercials is another trend we're interested in, with applications like Shazam and IntoNow.
YAB: What opportunities are you seeing for second-screen marketing and advertising?
CS: Second-screen advertising is important, because it allows us to engage consumers directly via broadcast media. Progressive just rolled out a new commercial about bundling insurance policies, where Jamie (Flo's Superstore coworker) tries to bundle a rocket with a cat. Users can Shazam that commercial to play Rocket Cat Adventures, a new game we created to supplement the spot, right on their device. They can also do things like get a quote and download our mobile app.
IntoNow is another platform that gives real-time information to supplement what you're watching on TV, further enriching the user experience. It's a connected, multi-device world, and our strategy reflects that.