The Dr. Rick ads from Progressive have been on our screens for over a year now, delighting television audiences across the country.
If you’re not familiar with the premise, actor Bill Glass plays a self-help guru called Dr. Rick. He teaches young homeowners about the pitfalls of ageing, and helps them avoid turning into their parents.
The Progressive ads have been well-received, with some of them racking up millions of views on YouTube, but Glass has a hard time picking his favorite line.
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Progressive’s Dr. Rick commercials strike a chord
Progressive’s Dr. Rick commercials are a rarity, in that viewers of all ages find them funny. They simultaneously poke fun at youth culture, middle-aged adults struggling to stay hip, and the drawbacks of getting old.
Speaking to the
Chicago Sun-Times, Bill Glass explains this phenomenon: "I call it ‘triple regeneration.’ The kids laugh when the parents are acting like the grandparents, the parents laugh when they’re starting to act like their parents, and the grandparents are laughing that their children behind them are starting to turn into them."
Glass says he doesn’t have a favorite commercial in the series, although he did enjoy the line, "If you woke up early, no one cares," because it reminds him of his own father who was an early riser.
Who is the actor behind Dr. Rick?
Dr. Rick is portrayed by Chicago native Bill Glass. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Glass attended Hersey High school, and performed with local sketch comedy groups before making the move to California.
He is good friends with fellow actor and comedian Eric Stonestreet (Cam from Modern Family). Glass’s acting credits include The League, Fresh Off the Boat, and Justified.
He is currently playing a lawyer on Rutherford Falls, a sitcom created by (and starring) Ed Helms of The Hangover fame.
Humor in insurance commercials
Bill Glass is proud of his comedic work in the Progressive TV ads. He explains, "When I see Progressive reps on set, they say that it’s getting a great response and they’re very happy with it — I’m happy with it. I do know that people are digging them."
While the fresh concept is clearly working for Progressive, Dr. Rick is just the latest in a long line of funny and memorable characters from insurance commercials.
Whether it’s the
GEICO Gecko, Jake from State Farm, or
Mayhem from Allstate, it seems every national insurer relies on comedy to sell its products.
The reason for this is pretty simple. Insurance is generally perceived as dull by the great American public. Dealing with car or home insurance claims is a necessary evil, rather than a fun filled activity.
By exhibiting a sense of humor, these companies hope to show customers that they can be fun and approachable, unlike the straight-laced insurance companies of yesteryear.
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