Is There a Gay Couple in That Insurance Ad?
A progressive new campaign from Progressive.
Progressive also began running a second ad on Logo that shows a female customer talking to the female clerk. Again, the ad wasn't written with Logo's demographic in mind. "There's nothing particularly gay or straight about it," says Bloomenkranz. But there's a vaguely flirtatious flavor to the women's interaction—if you squint hard enough and wish it were so.
Grade: B. Intentional or not, the ad with the two guys successfully walks the tightrope between gay and straight. Car insurance, more than most products, must appeal to every kind of person—for the simple reason that almost all of us drive. As an aside: I've always had a soft spot for "Flo," the cute Progressive salesclerk with the ever-present headband and bright red lipstick. She's apparently a minor sex symbol in her own right, though the actress who plays her can't quite understand why. "I don't know what it is," she once said in an interview. "The way I play her, she's pretty much the most asexual thing on TV right now. I think the Geico lizard puts out more sexual vibes than Flo does."
Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.