Monday, September 14, 2009

Contrary to the title, I guess it is me.

Quick: who is Stephanie Courtney? Don't know her?

Well, how about Eric Violette?

Oh, come on. If you're alive and in America, you know them. I guarantee it.

Stephanie is that supremely annoying woman on the Progressive Insurance television commercials. Not only that, you see her face every single time you open your home page. Eric is the male version of Stephanie: he's the guy featured in the ubiquitous free credit report commercials.

Honest to God, I would never ever consider buying - or even investigating - Progressive Insurance because I find their spokeswoman cloying, insipid and patronizing. And as far as my credit rating goes, I've never ever wondered about it - not once - and there is not one thing about hopping online to get a credit report that appeals to me, free or not. (Years ago, a financial advisor I know mentioned that the new found feeding frenzy over credit reports or "knowing your credit score" was something of a financial canard. In other words, if you need to know your number, you can assume it's probably too low.)

The reason I've titled the post this way is that apparently, at least when it comes to Stephanie, I'm in the minority. According to Stuart Elliott who writes about media and advertising for The New York Times, many viewers LOVE Stephanie. They call her "breezy." Progressive Insurance even reports that people have called the company, and expressed their desire to buy insurance, but only if they can purchase it from Stephanie.

Whatever. I can only hope these callers deep down understand she's an "actress," playing a role of some kind, although I can't quite figure out what exactly she's supposed to be. To me, she's aggravating, not approachable. She's unctuous and smug. I'd run in the other direction if someone with her style and manner tried to talk to me about insurance.

But again, that's me. Maybe I am mostly alone in my perspective here. She does seem to keep getting work so there must be some return on this investment for Progressive. More troubling is the report of people calling the company and asking to speak to Steph or have her work up a policy for them. Could any of them be serious? Even just some of them?

Sometimes, I wish I were that clueless. Sometimes I feel too mean to live. Maybe therapy would help. I wouldn't mind getting some counseling, but only if I could sit across the room from Dr. Paul Weston for an hour or so every week. OK, so Paul is really Gabriel Byrne, playing a psychologist on television. What's the difference? The same people who buy policies from a TV spokeswoman would also call HBO and try to find out where Dr. Weston's Brooklyn office is located.

And we worry about securing healthcare coverage for everyone in the country. We should be more concerned about the number of citizens who think they can buy insurance by calling an actress who appears in a television commercial. I'll bet for every one who called, there are ten at home who believe the same thing. We're doomed.


Anonymous said...

Or maybe you are just getting way too aggravated over a commercial. And as far as the actress who is in the commercial goes, she is just that, an actress. She is paid to act according to a script she didn't write. Really, your annoyance with the commercial, and, it seems, as much with the actress as the commercial, is the opposite of the people who will buy insurance only from the actress, and are smitten with her.

renee said...

I'm positive you're correct and the annoyance is way over the top for something as inconsequential as this. But there is one point I'd like to clarify: my annoyance is entirely with the actress, who is actually a comedian, not with her scripted message or the company.
I realize I'm in the minority, here, as you can tell by the title of the post.
Thank you for your comment. Life would be a lot easier if I just let more stuff like this go.

ThinBoy said...

You are not alone. She turns me off for the same reasons you mention. In his "About" blurb, Matt Taibbi wrote "My main ambition in life is to someday strangle that chick in the Progressive Insurance commercials who is always waving her hands back and forth and screaming, 'Discount!!!' Anyone who has suggestions for how to dump her body without being caught is welcome to write to me. I already have plenty of plastic and a staple-gun." Hee hee!

renee said...

Thank you T.B. and welcome!!

I'm positive if the jury were filled with people like you and me, no one would ever be convicted of the crime you described.

I realize I tend to take things like this to the extreme but honestly, she makes me nuts.
And as a result, I will NEVER check into Progressive Insurance. I guess the company is willing to forego the minority (like you and me) for the majority who seem to love her.

Thanks again for your comment.