Why you should Zig, when everyone else Zags

by Seamus Tierney

Opting for sustainability over trends when developing your next campaign has significant advantages.

First and foremost, design trends are, by their very nature, fleeting. What is considered fashionable and innovative today may be passé tomorrow. By constantly chasing trends, we risk creating designs that quickly become outdated and irrelevant. Instead of contributing to a culture of disposable consumption, let us strive for timelessness in our designs—something that transcends the fickleness of trends and stands the test of time.

This is a lesson I teach all the creatives I work with. While the kid with the orange hair, riding a skateboard down Melrose Avenue may seem cool today, how effective will your design be 90 days from now? Unless your brand is completely submersed in a culture-related narrative, chasing trends pays no campaign ROI. So finding more sustainable creative ways to connect with your audience generates solid brand recognition and creates sustainable brand loyalty.

Consider the impact that Progressive Insurance’s FLO campaign had on the marketplace. Progressive was a brand losing traction in an industry that most people viewed as nothing more than one of life’s boring necessities. The success of the FLO campaign can be attributed to its memorable and endearing character, FLO, who has become a cultural icon in the advertising world while creating a sustainable narrative that has served them well throughout countless campaigns, ”Bundling saves money.”

Flo’s quirky personality and relatable charm have resonated with audiences, making her a beloved figure in countless commercials and marketing materials. The campaign’s humor and creativity have helped Progressive stand out in a crowded marketplace, while its consistent messaging about the company’s services and values has reinforced brand recognition and loyalty among consumers.

By leveraging Flo’s vast appeal and utilizing a mix of traditional and digital advertising channels, Progressive effectively engaged audiences and achieved significant brand growth and market share expansion.

So if like me, you’re an ardent student of marketing, you would have noticed how almost every one of Progressive’s competitors attempted to create their own relatable character, hoping to tap into the success that the FLO campaign had. Lizards, emus, and cartoon characters alike, not one has the same impact as FLO.

The FLO campaign is a great example of how Progressive chose to ZIG, while the rest of the marketplace was ZAGGING. Their success stands as some powerful food for thought.