“Action Flo” TV Commercial & Print Ad Campaign For Progressive Insurance is Parodying G.I. Joe

New Insurance Company TV Commercial Mimics 1960s and ’80s G.I. Joe Ad Campaigns

As readers of The Joe Report know all too well, GIjOE “sightings” in media and pop-culture are often found in unlikely or unexpected places. Most show our friend Joe way off in the background somewhere, or only mention him by name, as in the aforementioned scene of Cheers (see HERE).
It must be even rarer then, to discover parodical sightings wherein Hasbro’s GIjOE is being used to promote the products and/or services of another company altogether. But insurance? Really? We have to admit we didn’t see this one coming. (Please view the 30-second spot above.)

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Look Out COBRA…er, High Insurance RatesProgressive’s On Its Way! Fans of the 1980s “GIjOE: Real American Hero” Saturday morning cartoon will recognize this opening shot from the Progressive commercial showing vehicles zooming overhead. Excellent mimicry of the RAH! (Photo: Progressive)

Indeed, the commercial in question is for Progressive Insurance (PI) and it will undoubtedly strike nostalgic chords with millions of Joeheads of all ages. Even if you’ve never seen this spot before, if you grew up during the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s, you’ll instantly recognize it as a not-so-subtle homage to Hasbro’s GIjOE promos of the past, mimicking their gung-ho music, animations, and voice-overs.

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They’re Ready to FIGHT—For lower rates! This screenshot from PI’s “Action Flo” commercial reveals various characters in poses similar to those depicted in ’80s RAH GIjOE spots. (Image: Bigshot)

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery— If so, Hasbro should be thrilled with this new parody by PI. Indeed, if you leave the sound on your computer turned OFF while watching the commercial, it’ll appear as if the subject(s) being promoted is indeed, action figures and toys. However, with the volume turned ON, you can enjoy its true intent and the spot’s tongue-in-cheek narration, which reveals the humorous truth behind “Action Flo” —Psst…she’s selling insurance!

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Oh no! In this screenshot from the commercial, fans of 1960s GIjOE commercials will recognize the surprised, mouth-agape expression of these two kids who’ve just discovered that their GIjOE businessman is now “up to his neck in operating costs.” The horror! Absolutely HILARIOUS.

What we enjoy most about Progressive’s new “Action Flo” ad campaign (and this commercial, in particular) is that it seamlessly and expertly combines elements from all eras of GIjOE advertising. For example, this PI spot opens with a hard-charging, GIjOE RAH-esque ’80s animation sequence, which then segues smoothly into excellent live actor portrayals (ala Hasbro’s 1960s and ’70s ads) of children playing with both “Action Flo” and GIjOE-type figures, somewhere in backyard America.

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Lookout for the birdbath, Joe! In this screenshot, a 1:6 scale lawncare worker runs into a customer’s birdbath. Hey, Joe! Damaging the customer’s property requires the services of a insurance company!

PI’s beloved TV spokeswoman, “Flo,” makes her usual cameo appearance towards the end of this spot, giving her new Action Flo toy line (i.e. Progressive Insurance) a big thumbs up. Just after the director calls out “Cut,” she finds herself being hilariously “dissed” by a smart-alecky kid who apparently has some “pull” with the smoothy maker over at the production’s crafts services.

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The “Bad Guy” of the spot is the homeowner whose birdbath was damaged. He yells, “Now you’re gunna pay!” and is an interesting one-of-a-kind creation, custom-made from multiple sources.

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GRRR!!! This closeup screenshot reveals the Bad Guy’s hand-painted head sculpt. Excellent!

We want those toys! Action figure fans and collectors of advertising will undoubtedly be impressed by the quality of the Action Flo toy line and all of its superb, blister-packed accessories. Sadly, it doesn’t appear the toys are destined for mass-production—yet. We were able to locate a couple of “promotional” copies, but the majority of what you see onscreen, is not even real. According to a recent Bernstein & Andriulli article on this topic:

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“If you can believe it, what you see aren’t actual toys. They’re CGI composites. ‘The original intent of this wasn’t to make a toy, it was just to make a series of print ads,’ says Klim Kozenevich of Bigshot. ‘But because of how our process works, action figures are possible.’ Does that mean this is going to turn into an action figure? Plenty of people are asking for them, but we can’t know for sure. For now, we have to satisfy ourselves admiring the detail and variation that Bigshot Toyworks and Progressive brought to the range.”

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Yes, This “Action Flo” is REAL— She sold recently on eBay for $104.01. Most likely she was a VERY limited production promotional piece made for a limited purpose and not sold at retail. (Photo: eBay)

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Standing Tall— You gotta admit, this line of (non-existent) “Action Flo” toys has been superbly executed. Simply Out-STANDING work, Bigshot! (Photo: Progressive)

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Who ‘dat? This closeup screenshot reveals one of the Joes was (most likely) based on Hasbro’s Ulysses S. Grant figures. The gloves are crudely made, but only appeared on-screen for a split-second.

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Here’s another REAL “Action Flo” (not a CGI rendering) that you may never be able to actually own. Again, this was most likely a VERY limited promotional prototype. (Photo: eBay)

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Not-so-Good-Buddy— Trucker Flo seems to be the least inspired prototype. Fairly dull.

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Here’s the back panel which helps prove these actually existed, at least in prototype form.

Stop Teasing us, Flo! The print ad campaign carries through with "photos" of the action figures. Progressive, you're such a tease! (Photo: Bigshotklim)

Stop Teasing us, Flo! The print ad campaign carries through with “photos” of the (currently non-existent) action figures. Progressive, you’re such a tease! (Photo: Bigshotklim)

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Creative designer, Klim Kozenevich, gives the prospect of (someday) seeing Action Flo in toy stores a big thumbs up. For now, you can only contact Progressive—and hope! (Photo: Klim Kozenevich)

For those of you who are diggin’ the “Action Flo” toy line and want to know if you can buy them NOW, we offer one little ray of hope. When asked by one fan whether they were actually going to make the toys, Bigshot’s Klim Kozenevich optimistically opined:

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“You would have to contact Progressive to get the information on where and when you can get a Flo Figure.”

 

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Look closely, this is NOT real— It’s a CGI illustration of a fantasy product. Amazing! (Art: Bigshot)

Bottom Line: This new “Joe sighting” is a fast-paced and fun homage to GIjOE from beginning to end and has something for fans of all eras. As for the Action Flo figures, at this time, it’s not certain whether or not they’ll ever make the transition from fantasy CGI to reality, but if they ever do, it appears some of the line’s accessories are close to 1:6 scale. The “Log Haulin'” metal helmet (see above) looks especially promising. Our heartiest congratulations to everyone at Progressive and Bigshot Toyworks for their superb work on this campaign. Go, JOE! Go, FLO!

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