CMO Jeff Charney is responsible for Progressive's network of commercial characters. Courtesy of Progressive Insurance.
The CMO behind some of Progressive’s most iconic commercials and characters such as "Flo" and the parent life-coach "Dr. Rick," is retiring. Progressive announced Wednesday that Jeff Charney will be leaving next January after over a decade of working in the position.
Progressive said the announcement was made early so the company would have ample time to conduct an external search for his successor. While his retirement date is set for January 2022, the insurance company said that could change depending on the timing of his replacement.
Charney was the brain behind Progressive’s “network” of advertising content and characters, a strategy that used improvisational actors to bring unique characters to life with creative and relevant story arcs, plot twists, and humor. The campaigns are then targeted to specific audiences and maximized through the company’s internal buying team.
To establish this network (which includes characters like the “Sign Spinner”, the half-man, half-motorcycle “Motaur”, and other “Superstore” workers like Flo’s sidekick, Jaime), Charney built out a broad and talented marketing team by combining both external and internal agencies he’s worked with. Back in 2011, Charney also created an internal creative agency called Ninety6. The pioneering in-house model helps the company create efficient campaigns and rely less on outside creative agencies.
"Jeff and I have been talking about this for a few years. He wanted to leave at the top of his game, and I'm so glad he's able to do just that," said president and CEO Tricia Griffith. "He's a true pioneer in the industry with a proven track record of results through creative disruption, and his marketing leadership over the past decade will have a lasting impact on Progressive's brand, culture, and Marketing team.”
The CMO search will be led by Griffith and Chief Human Resource Officer Lori Niederst, along with the company’s internal recruiting team.
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