When Weird Advertising Works: The Aflac Duck

aflac-duck1What exactly does a duck have to do with auto insurance? Nothing, really…unless the name of your insurance company just happens to sound like the sound a duck makes. The Aflac Duck have the company the boost it needed—and more.

The commercials became a hit, featuring the beloved duck quacking “Aflac” to people that have been the victim of terrible insurance policies. It sounds silly and forced but as anyone that has seen the commercials can verify, they actually work.

Created by the Kaplan Thaler group of New York, the idea for the Aflac duck came about when an agent for the company wa walking through central Park, trying to brainstorm for Aflac. He kept muttering “Aflac, Aflac, Alfac” to himself until he passed a few ducks. As the ducks quacked among one another, the agent realized the similarity between his client’s name and a duck’s quack.

There have been more than 30 commercials featuring the Aflac duck, the most recent of which involved him being involved in physical therapy following an accident. The mascot even has his own Facebook page with a surprising number of followers. What’s more, the duck also has a place along Madison Avenue;s Walk of Fame where he is listed as one of American’s Favorite Advertising Icons.

Of the 30 or so commercials, many have feature celebrities such as Chevy Chase, Wayne Newton, Yao Ming, and Carl Edwards. Other famous cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny have even shared the spotlight with the Aflac duck.

The Aflac duck hasn’t come without its controversy, though. The famous tagline of “Aflac” spoken in duck-tongue was voiced by comedian Gilbert Gottfried until March 2011. Gottfried was released following some very insensitive remarks about the earthquake and tsunami Japan suffered earlier in the year. He was replaced by the winner of a contest put on by Aflac.

The duck has since become such a huge part of the Aflac brand that he was incorporated into the company logo in 2005.

Check out the Aflac Duck on Facebook and keep up with his physical therapy progress.

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