Home » Progressive Insurance’s commercial about becoming your parents (while traveling) missed a huge opportunity
We are huge fans of Progressive Insurance's series of commercials about becoming your parents so we were tickled pink when they debuted one that shows young people traveling...while becoming their parents (paper boarding passes anyone?). And while the commercial is pretty funny the creative team missed a huge opportunity to lampoon a classic trope.

Progressive Insurance’s commercial about becoming your parents (while traveling) missed a huge opportunity

by Jeremy B

We are huge fans of Progressive Insurance’s series of commercials about becoming your parents so we were tickled pink when they debuted one that shows young people traveling…while becoming their parents (paper boarding passes anyone?). And while the commercial is pretty funny the creative team missed a huge opportunity to lampoon a classic trope.

Lest you think we are shills for Progressive, we are not. Nope, big State Farm fans here, but we have always loved Progressive Insurance’s commercials. Especially Flo.

However, in this series of commercials an older male “life coach” helps young people keep from becoming their parents by lampooning various things we’ve all seen our parents do (or maybe done ourselves…ahem).

In a commercial that only recently caught our eye, the life coach is helping the group avoid becoming their parents while traveling. The scene is set at the airport. Roll tape (and then see if you can guess what they missed out on). Don’t worry, we’ll tell you, below.

Apparently, this commercial is not as new as we originally thought having been released in June of this year, but we’d not seen it until today. And when it popped on this afternoon we waited with bated breath for the coup de grace for the most epic lampoon they could have landed, but it didn’t materialize. Sadly.

Sure, paper tickets are funny, as are snacks, and showing up at the airport super duper early (and plane facts if you watch the extended commercial), but they missed THE best thing they could have made fun of.

What is this you ask?

Clapping when the plane lands.


Don’t plane clappers annoy you?

For many travelers – especially seasoned ones – there’s a healthy eye roll when a smattering of applause breaks out after a successful landing.

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According to Best Life Online, clapping on plane landings dates back to the 40’s after a successful landing in Cincinnati when a flight had some trouble with its landing gear. It seems to have stuck for a while and then fell out of vogue, becoming quite the divisive issue according to the Washington Post.

Most frequent flyers look down their noses at plane clappers and for good reason. Planes successfully land all the time. It’s kind of not a big deal. But, for the infrequent traveler, the person who only flies once every couple of years, or for the person who hasn’t traveled in a while (ahem, your parents, maybe!?) it still might be a big deal.

Regardless, Progressive missed a great opportunity to have some fun with this trope. Despite the miss, the commercial is still darned hilarious and while we have no idea if their insurance is any good, their creative marketing team is #fire.

What’s your take on clapping when the plane lands?

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cr September 26, 2021 - 7:00 pm

“How do we play the tape?”

Christian September 27, 2021 - 2:53 pm

I always kinda figured that the pilots landing the plane without crashing was a fairly rudimentary part of the job. Clapping would be akin to clapping when your server arrives with lunch and doesn’t spill it all over you.

The C Boarding Group September 27, 2021 - 5:48 pm


Dora October 2, 2021 - 4:24 pm

I was just on a plane last week where two rows of people clapped🙁 🙄They were not oldsters either

The C Boarding Group October 2, 2021 - 6:23 pm

Joseph Geppert October 29, 2021 - 8:08 pm

I absolutely hate this ad and find it very demeaning to my parents. I would never buy this product even if they gave me free insurance I will continue to tell anyone and everyone I know how horrible I feel this is. So far it has worked. Being from a family of having 16 Aunts and uncles and 98 first cousins we all agree this is a horrible ad and you should be ashamed to do this. Sincerely, Joseph Geppert

Lee M Sulkowski November 19, 2021 - 3:59 pm

I agree this ad is in extremely poor taste.

Crouse December 12, 2021 - 5:59 pm


Sandee Peterson December 27, 2021 - 1:32 pm

I totally agree! It’s shameful and demeaning to all elders. It’s bad enough how younger people treat seniors without encouraging the rudeness.

Deborah Strickland February 13, 2022 - 1:52 pm

I agree with you .What the hell is wrong with becoming like your parents unless they are drug addicts,or something.
I hate this concept and I hate theses commercials

Shawn Corbet March 20, 2022 - 2:58 pm

I agree! When is having common sense, common decency, and common courteous a bad thing? My parents had all of these and I hope to be just like them! I will never buy Progressive Insurance just because of these ads!

Marilyn Cali May 7, 2022 - 9:46 pm

I totally agree…maybe it would be a better world if more people learned things from their parents…they did a lot of things right!

Larry Hoffman, Ph.D. November 7, 2021 - 5:24 pm

I agree with Mr. Geppert. The plot of the commercial is really that being observant, expressive, and concerned about detail is uncool. It’s a sort of view of life held by teenagers who criticize their peers for showing those traits. We need more people willing to show them. The commercial touts a conformist view. More than most, it dumbs down what the viewer experiences and may reinforce the wrong values in young people who watch it. It reminds me of a bank commercial that played in Texas around 1980 with the punchline, “Everybody knows First is best.” Well, anybody with some sense knows that’s not necessarily so. But many young people may not have that sense.

C Rouse December 12, 2021 - 5:58 pm

These commercials are disrespectful and demeaning to parents .

robin miller December 15, 2021 - 8:55 am

I am disturbed why Dr Rick throws out that lady’s snacks? WHY?? Why would he make her purchase airport snacks? Too expensive. He doesn’t know if her snack bag is for a diabetic traveler or special diet needs person. This pisses me off.

John Hatfield December 30, 2021 - 8:04 pm

This ad ought to be taking off–it is demeaning -it shows the true character of this insurance company–I love my parents–they have more character and integrity than these idiots who made this commercial.

John West January 12, 2022 - 10:41 pm

This puts salt into the division between boomers and the later generations. It pushes contempt as humor , and divides family structures as well. Makes money i guess at the expense of society… do thats ok, right?

George Hotchkiss June 1, 2022 - 2:24 pm

I am 66 and I laugh at all of the Dr. Rick ads.

Anita Jessup January 23, 2022 - 8:10 pm

I really don’t understand the whole point of the commercial. My parents were seasoned flyers and I think your commercials are not only insulting to older fliers but to many who are not older but who have a proven style of flying that they enjoy. You have worn that commercial out – move on.

Andrew A. DeSanto January 24, 2022 - 8:46 am

Maybe your company should be called The progressives … Today you have commercials teaching younger people that older people are a joke and are stupid and should be laughed at and becoming like your parents is a bad thing .. Maybe next you can run commercials teaching the today’s younger people that that cops to also be disrespected and becoming law abiding and putting their life on the line is a joke too .You people are part of the problem with decaying respect towards others and especially our seniors . Idiots ..

BETSY MORRIS January 30, 2022 - 5:29 pm

It is custom in some countries to applaud the pilots upon landing. It is a gracious habit.

Rosalie Leman February 12, 2022 - 6:51 pm

I agree that this line of commercials for Progressive Insurance is very offensive to those of us who have raised children. It doesn’t seem very wise, either, as the parents are usually the ones who purchase and pay for the insurance

Gary Dalton March 7, 2022 - 10:23 am

Do a commercial on parents leaving a condominium rental with extra purchases left over.

Corbet Shawn March 20, 2022 - 3:07 pm

I will never buy Progressive Insurance because of these ads. Since when is common courtesy, common decency, and common sense, a bad thing? My parents have all 3 of these and I hope to grow up just like them! Really bad commercials.

Kathryn Dougherty March 24, 2022 - 8:35 pm

I am so grateful to see there are others who feel as I do about these commercials. It is so disgusting to see and hear the negativity of being like your parents! I have always felt so blessed when someone tells me i remind them of my precious mother! Can’t you find a decent way to sell your product?? Your commercials disgust me .

Wanda Newton April 4, 2022 - 8:41 pm

I agree I would never buy Progressive insurance because of these commercials. My parents were hard working, honest, decent people. They taught me to be the same and I am thankful for everything they taught me. These commercials are disrespectful to all parents.

Clyde Waite April 5, 2022 - 3:00 pm

Commercials are supposed to sell a product. What is it about these Progressive commercials that promote selection of Progressive insurance over any number of other insurance companies. I get it that imagery can coax people in one direction or another. What is the imagery they are pushing other than being self effacing by demonstrating regressiveness in a “Progressive” vendor. They succeed only in poking fun at mature, reasonable and monied cohorts which seems to be self destructive, inconsistent and to me personally fails on every count as being promotional or even entertaining. That nice young guy on the State Farm commercials is far more compelling with positive imagery.

Tom April 8, 2022 - 9:35 pm

This is offensive and should not be allowed on TV. What is next blackface aimed at Black Americans. I will never do any business with this company.

Brian April 20, 2022 - 5:52 pm

You people are unreal. I’m older and I don’t even get offended by this. People are so sensitive these days. Good Grief

Teri May 4, 2022 - 7:50 pm

I completely agree with you Brian! Let’s not become such snowflakes.

Alyce Larson April 23, 2022 - 12:05 pm

I find the suggestion that young adults should make a sincere effort not to become their parents both ignorant and ludicrous, as well as humorous. In the ad referencing that young homeowners make an effort not to become their parents, I suspect a pretty high percentage of these young adults wouldn’t even be able to be a homeowner if not for help from or co-signing by these “pathetic” parents.

Dean April 26, 2022 - 8:33 am

I agree that we need to thicken up a little. They are really saying that your parents are wise for getting a good deal on car insurance, that it is ok to become like your parents in some ways but we all have parents with oddities that we say we will never pick up, but we do. Laugh at it. They could easily turn this around and mock some of the stupid things a younger generation does despite having wise parents, but then there would be just of many of us angry at progressive for running ads about not supporting the next generation. Come on. Smile and laugh at yourselves a little.

Teri May 4, 2022 - 7:46 pm

I am 67 years old and I think these commercials are absolutely hysterical. I never once thought they were demeaning or insulting to older people. My four sisters and I often joke about turning into our parents. It’s light hearted fun and in no way disrespectful to our parents whom we adore. I like these commercials far better than the obnoxious ones with Flo. Moreover, I can’t imagine I would ever allow my feelings about a simple commercial dictate whether or not I buy the product. I agree with Dean ….smile and laugh at yourselves a little.

Dave S May 21, 2022 - 5:26 am

Just stupid.. lowest common denominator. And the “old wise” teacher guy is annoying. Good way to make me NOT consider progressive.. this and FLO…just awful.

Mary Silva June 12, 2022 - 3:05 pm

You’re assuming that all parents are duds for exhibiting behavior that you think is wrong. This is disrespectful, negating all of our parents positive actions. It’s a put-down. This commercial is a turn off for prospective Progressive clients.

Ron Leith September 21, 2022 - 7:47 pm

Progressive has insulted every parent with their slam against parents. This commercial should be removed. Boycott this company. Children will be lucky if they can be as good as their parents. Very poor taste in advertising.

Richard frank February 20, 2023 - 8:56 am

Dr.Rick is annoying sticking his nose in other peoples business.He is too nosey . I would punch him out for being so intrusive into my business.


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