Despite the fact that Aflac is one of the most well-known companies in the U.S. thanks to the iconic Aflac Duck, the company is introducing what the brand calls one of its most extensive integrated marketing campaigns that shifts away from name recognition to promote product awareness.
"When we asked consumers, 'What type of insurance coverage does Aflac offer?' many did not respond correctly,” says Shannon Watkins, vice president, brand and creative services, Aflac. "They think they know what Aflac is, but there are misconceptions."
The creative, developed with Publicis, initially uses "Aflac Isn't" as its hook to directly address misperceptions and engage viewers to eventually learn what Aflac is. The TV spot anchoring the campaign features people not knowing that the company gives policyholders cash to help with expenses health insurance doesn’t cover and other misperceptions.
"Given the company’s very high awareness and changing market dynamics propelling the need for Aflac’s products and services, we believe marketing can be used as a tool to more aggressively fuel company growth," says Watkins. "What we needed to do is develop the 'How.'"
While Aflac will continue to use the iconic Duck mascot, his role will evolve from not just driving comedy in the creative — people will always laugh and smile with the duck — but to be a “helpmate to consumers who need our products and services,” explains Watkins.
Subsequent phases of the campaign will promote specific offerings including some not available from competitors.
Underpinning each phase, Aflac will weave brand and messaging into the music scene throughout the year, says Watkins. "We believe music gives Aflac a great opportunity to not only reach people with our educational message, but it’s also a great tool for driving connection which, ultimately, will help grow sales," she says.
This is the first campaign produced since Publicis won the account in 2018. Publicis Seattle handles creative while Spark Foundry oversees media duties.