USC Journalism School honors Jeff Charney

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Former Williamston resident

The University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications honored Michael Jeffrey Charney at their Annual Alumni Awards Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 8.

The Distinguished Alumni Award honors graduates who have demonstrated a history of exemplary work in their professional careers and who have been out of school for at least 10 years. It identifies exceptional graduates of the school whose careers represent significant achievement. Charney graduated in 1981, majoring in Public Relations.

Michael “Jeff” Charney is the Chief Marketing Officer for Progressive, where he leads efforts including national advertising, internal and external communications, new media content initiatives and public relations. He was named “”Brand Genius and Marketer of the Year” by Adweek for 2011. Charney is one of the creative minds behind Progressive’s brand icon “Flo,” who was named in Advertising Ages magazine’s 2012 “top Female Icons of All Time”

Charney believes that in order to gain the public’s interest quickly, you sometimes have to be “disruptive”. He demonstrated this by shattering 3 beer bottles into the audience with a baseball bat! The bottles were made of candy, so no one was injured, but his point was well made!

Charney is a native of Williamston and graduated Palmetto High in 1977.