Fetishizing Flo: Constructing Retail Space and Flexible Gendered Labor in Digital-Era Insurance Advertising

Matthew P. McAllister, Tanner R. Cooke, Catherine Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article critically analyzes the Progressive insurance campaign featuring the spokescharacter Flo, who since 2008 has appeared in over 100 television commercials and a variety of print, radio, and web-based advertising and promotions. The article argues that the campaign exemplifies a version of commodity fetishism, nostalgically representing retail spaces and workers in ways that mask the realities of reduced-labor businesses in the digital, neoliberal, and (post)recession era. Its construction of Flo as an “always available,” flexible, and branded laborer blurs distinctions between modern workers’ private and work life, and is a particularly gendered portrayal that sometimes sexualizes the character while at work. This marketing strategy is also used by other modern brands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-362
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Studies in Media Communication
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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