Entertainment Weekly recently did a bracket game called “The Big Shill”. They pitted ad icons from a variety of brands against each other, and allowed people to vote on which of two icons they liked better. When all was said and done, it was Flo, the Progressive Insurance girl, who was the ultimate winner.
The Big Shill bracket game was designed to find out who, or what (as the case may be) was the number one advertising icon in the United States. Which one do people like best? They took advertising icons and characters from insurance companies, fast food restaurants, cleaning products, a wide variety of foods (most of which are generally eaten by children), computer companies, car makers, and more.
These icons were then split into two “teams”. One team was made up of “Creatures” and the other consisted of “Human and the Human-Like”. A quick glance over the brackets will show you many of your favorite advertising icons from commercials of the past and present.
The ultimate winner was Flo, the perky, chipper, overly enthusiastic advertising icon from the Progressive Insurance company. With her bright smile, her bump-it enhanced hair style, and her immaculate white uniform, she happily tries to find people the best deal on car insurance. After six rounds of battle, Flo won out over icons like The Old Spice Guy, (in the quarter finals), and the Pillsbury Doughboy (in the finals). Flo took over 73% of the votes. The Pillsbury Doughboy ended up with almost 27% of votes.
It’s amusing to take a look at some of the other icons that competed to see “Whose Shilling Gets Top Billing?”. The Empire Carpet Guy was on the “Human and the Human -Like” team. I grew up near Chicago, so I immediately think of the jingle that lists out the phone number you would need if you wanted to call Empire. I didn’t think the Empire Carpet Guy was a nationally recognized icon, though. Another surprise on that team was The “Where’s the Beef?” Lady from Wendy’s, who hasn’t been featured in their commercials since sometime in the mid 1980’s.
The “Creatures” team also had a few blasts from the past, in the form of Joe Camel (from Camel cigarettes). It also had The Noid from the Dominos pizza ads from sometime in the 1980’s. Progressive insurance wasn’t the only insurance company appearing in the bracket game. Geico was represented twice, with their Cavemen competing on the “Human and the Human-Like” team, and the Geico Gecko competing on the “Creatures” team.
Image by anyjazz65 on Flickr