Ed Helms Belts It Out in Comical Gen Z Campaign From Progressive
If you thought Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford rocked out righteously in last year's Plymouth Rock Insurance ads, wait until you see (and hear!) Ed Helms riff on '80s hair-metal—and other musical genres—for Progressive.
Actually, why wait? Here's "Driver's Ed," courtesy of Arnold Worldwide, working those frets in Progressive's first Gen Z play:
That's his real hair! The short 'do at the start, not the maniacally moused, flowing stuff he sports later, while belting out lines like:
"You've got your license. You're finally free.
You're the man, or whatever your pronouns be.
Drivin' around in your brand-new whip,
But you didn't see that tree. Oh shiii...
Do you need insurance? Insure you do!
It may not sound that cool right now.
But trust me, you won't knock it
When you're saved from paying six or seven G's outta pocket!"
You dig '90s boy bands? (Netflix does.) In Ed's take on the genre below, dude begs his boo to "Kick it into gear, girl ... Don't hit that deer, girl!"
Shucks, country fans, Ed's got you covered, too:
"When you were a boy, Mama kissed you good night.
She covered you up in your blanket so tight.
But if you do well at that job interview,
Maybe your Mama can finally stop covering you.
Now that little boy is fully grown
Ready for coverage of his own.
You'll make your Dad proud when you have your own place
And he doesn't have to see quite so much of your face."
Hobby Film director Craig Brownrigg maintains a high level of absurdity while sticking the brand message each time. D.J. Javerbaum of Daily Show fame supplied lyrics, with Singing Serpent composing the music.
"The assignment was simple—to educate Gen Z on the ins and outs of car insurance as they reach driving age," Arnold creative chief Sean McBride tells Muse. "Naturally we were looking for a format where you can go a little deeper on a subject that can be complex, but still have it be fun and entertaining. There's utility to these songs. They're a bit like Schoolhouse Rock for car insurance. But with a sillier, more irreverent sensibility."
The team cast Helms in large part because The Office has been "the most popular streaming show on the planet within the last year or two," says McBride. "And that viewership was and is heavily driven by Gen Z. So, we would contend that Ed is a sneaky big deal with Gen Z."
Yep, Ed nails it. Encore! Encore! After all, Progressive won fame for its recurring mascots like Flo and Jamie, the Mayfields and Motaur (they should maybe slam the brakes on that one).
"The craziest thing was that we recorded the vocals to the songs on the same day we shot the videos," McBride recalls. "Ed had of course worked to develop them and learn them beforehand, so he wasn't coming in cold. But we set up a recording situation on location, he'd sing his guts out, we'd do a rough mix in a few minutes, and he'd be lip-syncing to that mix moments later. It was pretty intense."
Other recent long-form music forays—which to some extent represent the evolution of old-school brand jingles—include Meta's promos with dance diva Peaches, this Kraft-Kelis team-up, and DraftKings' viral series starring young rappers.
Agency: Arnold Worldwide
Chief Creative Officer: Sean McBride
Chief Client Officer: Val Bettini
Creative Director, Art: Thomas Hair
Creative Director, Copy: Tom Kelly
Art Director: Daniel Hughes
Copywriter: Courtney Hoenicke
Junior Copywriter: Samuel Ike
VP/Executive Producer: Whitney Bogosian
Sr. Producer: Lauren Landry
VP/Marketing Director: Jordan Colleran, Alex McSweeney
Senior Marketing Manager: Esther Wang
EVP, Brand Strategy Director: Catherine Sheehan
SVP, Director of Business Affairs: Danielle Ivicic, Camara Price
Assoc. Director of Project Management: Eric Rubino
Production Company: Hobby Film
Director: Craig Brownrigg
Executive Producer: Renee Krumweide
Line Producer: Josh Rothfeld
Editorial Company: Cosmo Street
Editor: Aaron Langley
Asst. Editor: Jared Zygarlicke
Producer: Paolo Solarte
Colorist: Joseph Bicknell
Executive Producer: Meg Bailey
Sr. Producer: Danny Dianora
Flame Artist: Mark L'Heureux
Executive Producer: Dennis Culp
Engineer: Dave Sicilian