Allstate Pilfers Shelf Space from Progressive

Allstate Pilfers Shelf Space from Progressive

When Ad Creatives Copy - is it Stealing?

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It's simply wrong to steal - er, plagiarize, but it's no holds barred with ideas. Creatives are notorious for it as recent Allstate commercials prove.

Even if you haven't had a need for insurance, it's been hard to miss Progressive's TV ads featuring the ever-effervescent Flo as a helpful clerk at the company's hyper-mod store. Surrounded by a sea of white, sparse shelves are lined with boxed "products." Makes you want to go straight to the computer or phone and get a quote, doesn't it?

Apparently it has, as Allstate must be feeling the heat from lost sales. Their ad agency decided to copy the premise of heading down to your local retailer and grabbing a box of house and car protection off the shelf. Their style is more down-home as Dennis Haysbert provides his soothing voice inside a "store" filled with shelves featuring the "other" products placed above and below Allstate brands. These are all bundled in squeezable plastic packages or cans that, again, promote a low-tech image.

Of course, if you think about it, Flo with her perkiness is up there on a scale of annoyances alongside the Nationwide guy. Is that copying? At least the Geico gecko has been left to its own territory so far. The good news is that insurance commercials are veering out of dullness and onto more adventurous grounds.

But is there a moral? If sales are falling off, then just go ahead and mimic the winning competitor. Surely they won't mind and all's fair in love, war, and customer acquisition.

So obvious and lame. At least wait a few years before you rip off some else's idea.