Saving You Money So You Can Buy More Toys

There’s a commercial airing for Progressive Insurance which is extremely irritating to me, so of course I’m blogging about it.

Progressive’s current campaign involves people shopping for insurance in a store setting, while the cashier exclaims about the great deals and free services that come with each policy as the customer pays.

This particular commercial shows begins with a woman walking over to her husband at the checkout lane. She sees a cartful of insurance in the cart and says, “What’s this?” as she’s reaching in. Looking at each one in turn she says, puczzled, “We don’t have a motorcycle. We don’t have a boat. We don’t have an RV.”

The husband sheepishly admits, “Yes, we do.” The announcer then says, “Saving you money so you can buy more toys. Now that’s Progressive.”

This ad bothers me on so many levels. First, there’s the obvious dishonesty in this pretend relationship. What kind of man keeps the purchase of a motorcycle, a boat and an RV from his wife? This isn’t funny, and it’s not even all that unusual. It happens. This type of thing is why financial differences are the number one reason for divorce. If Husband ever did anything like this he’s have to sell the boat and the RV to pay the medical bills.

The other thing that bothers me is Progressive’s laissez faire attitude about money management. The propagation of the idea that “He who dies with the most toys wins.” If we can save you $20 on your insurance you’ll be able to buy that $20,000 boat. Why save? Spend! So what if you can’t afford it? So what if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, or just barely, or almost? You need more toys!

Is it any wonder that our country is in the financial and economic mess we are in? That credit card debit is at an all-time high? That the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and uncontrolled spending is responsible for 1 in 11 homes in our country being in foreclosure? One in eleven!!!

I don’t expect mega corporations to discourage people from spending money. Their job is to make money, and I understand that. But can’t they do it a bit more responsibly?

In my opinion this ad is a disservice. Progressive is using these ads to get people like you and me to call them for quotes and buy their policies. Irresponsible advertising like this will always have the opposite affect on me. I can tell you, Progressive, that even if you did save me money I wouldn’t come near one of your policies with a ten foot pole. Not even on a motorcycle. Or in a boat. Or an RV.

4 Responses to “Saving You Money So You Can Buy More Toys”

  1. theissuedwife Says:

    if my husband would by this stuff without my knowledge he would be dead, so no need for a car insurance

  2. Kate Says:

    Oh, clarly, it’s financially irresponsible and sexist and just plain annoying.

    Besides, everyone knows the true goal is, “She who dies with the most *yarn* wins.”

  3. Sara Says:

    It really does seem like they’re missing the mark on their target audience. The people most likely to go through the trouble of switching insurance to save a few dollars are far more likely to spend it on milk and gas than new boats. Poor timing. (And yes, pretty darn annoying…)

  4. Carnival of Personal Finance #157: Third Anniversary Edition - Consumerism Commentary: A Personal Finance Blog Says:

    […] You Going To Be This Way… presents Saving You Money So You Can Buy More Toys. This blogger is critical of a recent Progressive Insurance […]

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