Consumers Pick the 6 Best Insurance Personalities

Insurance companies know that to land more customers, they need a memorable “mascot.”  Today’s most effective campaigns in the insurance war don’t rely on only a catchy jingle or smart hook to engage customers, but also a great spokesperson.

We asked over 200 American consumers which personality from the top car insurance companies they like best. Here are their top picks.

First Place: Allstate®’s Mayhem

America loves a well-played villain, which may be why consumers voted Allstate’s Mayhem as the best insurance personality — he was also the top choice among male consumers. Mayhem wreaks havoc on people’s lives, and always ends commercials with the tagline, “Get Allstate and be better protected from Mayhem like me.” Favorite Mayhem characters include an emotional teenage girl running into people’s cars, heavy snow collapsing a homeowner’s roof, and a raccoon destroying an attic.

Actor Dean Winters says playing Mayhem has been “the best job [he’s] ever had.” Winters landed the role after a bacterial infection threatened his life — the commercials jumpstarted his career and made him a household face.

Allstate developed the Mayhem idea when their commercials were continually ranking behind other major insurance brands. They wanted to target a younger audience and focus on providing insurance with value. Shortly after Mayhem aired in 2010, Allstate began winning multiple marketing awards for the creative ad campaign. 

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Second Place: Progressive®’s Flo

In 2008, Progressive set out to create a new ad campaign that would make shopping for insurance a pleasant experience. Progressive scored with perky Flo, an American fan favorite. With nearly 5 million Facebook fans, Flo is an advertising icon. She was the top pick among women in our poll, and was preferred by everyone between ages 30 and 44.

Flo’s commercials are usually set in a fictitious insurance superstore where she plays a charming and funny saleswoman who loves Progressive. She always wears her signature look: a neat white uniform, red lipstick, and a large name tag. The “Boston Herald” calls Flo “the commercial break’s new sweetheart.”

Comedic actress Stephanie Courtney says Flo is her most popular role. Courtney is a sketch improvisation actress who was a main member of The Groundlings theater company. Flo’s look may seem simple, but it requires so much time to do her makeup and hair that Courtney says she is never recognized in public.

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Third Place: GEICO®’s Gecko

GEICO has a history of using seemingly ridiculous characters as their company mascots — from Maxwell the pig to cavemen. GEICO really nailed it with their Gecko; consumers chose it as the third most popular insurance personality.

The Gecko is the oldest insurance spokesperson — he has appeared in GEICO commercials for over 15 years. He first appeared in 1999 during the Screen Actors Guild strike, when GEICO couldn’t use live actors. The Gecko was originally a background character to teach viewers how to correctly pronounce the company name, but he was so successful that he became the star by 2005. GEICO executives attribute an increase in business volume to the gecko’s adventures.  

Kelsey Grammer of “Fraiser” fame gave the Gecko a posh British accent in its first TV spot. In current commercials, the Gecko is voiced by a British DJ with a cockney accent — an effort to help people relate to the Gecko.

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Fourth Place: Jake from State Farm®

The latest State Farm commercials turn a boring sales call into a hilarious sketch. The star of the commercial — salesman Jake — is featured for only a few seconds and speaks merely two words: “Uh, khakis.” It became so popular that it spawned a variation where the Coneheads call Jake.

Jake from State Farm is actually a former State Farm agent. He answered a casting call for the commercial when he worked as an agent, and quit his part-time job at State Farm shortly after the commercial aired. He kept bartending at a popular campus bar in the town of Normal, Indiana, called Pub II. Though the commercials made him a local celebrity, he plans to continue life in Indiana without further exploring his brief acting stint.

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Fifth Place: The Aflac® Duck

Love him or hate him, the Aflac duck has made his way into the zeitgeist by “quacking” variations of “Aflac.” That’s what company executives wanted when they aired the first Aflac Duck commercial in 2000. They were looking to rebrand the American Family Life Assurance Company as Aflac when the ad agency realized “Aflac” sounded like “quack.” The duck mascot was born and Aflac became a household name.

The Aflac brand skyrocketed in Japan after commercials first aired in 2003. The duck has become a favorite figure in Japan, where Aflac provides insurance for one out of every four Japanese residents. When the idea was pitched, the duck was up against an Aflac ad featuring Ray Romano, whose TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond” was very popular. It was a bold choice to choose the duck over Romano, but it turned out to be smart for the brand.

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Sixth Place: Peyton Manning for Nationwide®

Though Nationwide’s competitors have scored with funny and charming mascots, using a famous athlete has been big for Nationwide. The previous Denver Broncos quarterback sings different lyrics — like, “Chicken parm you taste so good,” — to the tune of the “Nationwide is on your side” jingle. The “Jingle” commercials featuring the five-time league MVP have become the most popular ads in the company’s history.

Though terms of his Nationwide deal were never disclosed, Manning makes over $12 million a year for endorsements including Nationwide, Buick, Papa John’s, and Gatorade. Manning came in last in our survey of insurance personalities, but his ranking might be just related to team rivalries.

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Who is your favorite insurance personality to see on television? Comment below or vote on this page.

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