financial services

Aflac Tops Last Year's Commercial Count


Aflac unveiled its eighth new television spot of 2009, marking the first time that Aflac has introduced more than seven TV ads in a single year.

The spot, from Kaplan Thaler, New York, debuted Monday and is running nationally on CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC, CNN, CNBC, Discovery Channel, USA, Headline News and the History Channel.

"Soccer" presents two mothers, one of whom is using crutches, chatting about insurance while watching their kids play soccer. Soaring acrobatically in and out of frame, the Aflac Duck protects the mothers from being hit by the ball while letting them know that it is Aflac that pays cash when someone is sick or hurt.

"We feel like we need to continue to be aggressive," Al Johnson, Aflac vice president of advertising, tells Marketing Daily regarding the record number of spots. "And if you take a look at the eight commercials, they are really geared toward different audiences."



The "Soccer" spot joins three others that are geared toward consumers. Two other spots were geared toward business-to-business (down from four B2B spots in 2008). In addition, the company produced two spots specifically about its NASCAR sponsorship and relationship with driver Carl Edwards. It joins a NASCAR spot that started running last year before the company was Edwards' primary sponsor, Johnson says.

No more spots are "in the can" for this year, but the marketing team is looking at new concepts -- so it's possible there could be more, Johnson says, adding: "We have a lot going on from a marketing perspective."

The company is also beefing up its social media efforts, and the Aflac Duck now has both a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. "He's communicating in new and unique ways," Johnson says. "Facebook fans can follow him throughout his days."

The duck has more than 136,700 fans on Facebook and more than 2,800 followers on Twitter.

In "Soccer," after scoring a gravity-defying goal, the Aflac Duck celebrates with a victory dance while singing "Aflac, Aflac, Aflaaaac," much to the surprise of one familiar fan -- actor Earl Billings, who been in 11 other Aflac spots. In this spot he plays a surprised referee who gives the duck a perplexed look.

This is the 46th commercial in which the Columbus, Ga.-based insurance company has enlisted the Aflac Duck, voiced by comedian/actor Gilbert Gottfried. Jan. 1, 2010, will mark the Aflac Duck's 10th birthday as the company celebrates its 55th year in business.

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