Thursday, May 20, 2010

Aflac Take 2


After finally acknowledging that viewers may recognize the Aflac duck, but still don’t know what the company does, the folks at Aflac are making some changes. First, they put the account in review. Now, they’ve arranged a summer blockbuster tie-in with Toy Story 3.

The tailored spot, featuring the Aflac duck mixing with Woody and Buzz Lightyear, will run in-cinema and in theater lobbies. In a nod to the growing importance of the Latino market, Aflac will sponsor People en Espanol’s screening of Toy Story 3 in five key Hispanic markets. And, they are also hosting a special screening of the movie for the children at the Aflac Cancer Center in Atlanta.

Other bells and whistles include a Toy Story/Aflac co-sponsored NASCAR car, a sweepstakes with a Hollywood trip for the grand prize, network, cable and online airings, and print ads in Parents Magazine. The end game? According to spokesperson Jon Sullivan “We are trying to reach families this summer with the family movie that everyone will see. As families see this movie, we want them to be thinking of protecting their family’s future with Aflac.” (Irwin, 2010)

What do you think? Will this be the effort that finally works?

Irwin, T. (2010, May 18). Aflac Partners With Disney For ‘Toy Story 3’ Retrieved May 19, 2010, from


  1. I understand Aflac's thinking in using a children's movie as a platform for their advertising campaign, but I don't think it will work b/c people still don't know what Aflac is. I think they need to launch a campaign that will reintroduce it's services first so people become more familiar with associating the duck with the type of insurance they sell. Everyone sees the Geico gecko and thinks about cars, no one sees the duck and thinks about the possibility of them getting injured while walking out of a movie theater.

    --Simone Gibbs

  2. I think the tie-in with Toy Story 3 and co sponsoring of a NASCAR car will not help describe the service that is Aflac. However, it will increase the number of eyeballs that are on the Aflac duck. The duck has become a regonizable mascot, such as the Energizer Bunny. I see this as a ploy to simply place the duck in front of a lot of children. If you can get the children to remember the duck and his sqawk of the company name, then you have future costumers.

  3. After viewing the commercial, I don't think it will increase their business, unless, as Jeff said...they are looking to the future. As with the current Visa/Toy Store 3 ad, it looks to me that it would only increase the audience for the movie! I checked out a bunch of other Aflac ads on youtube, and they did all explain what the insurance is for, but wonder how effective it is for two reasons: 1) would it not be better to play a little into fear of being disabled rather than display a funny duck? 2) Quite a few of the ads said "ask about it at work"...what does that mean? I wouldn't have the faintest idea what to say if an employee asked me about aflac...I find that off-putting. Isn't an ad supposed to explain what you need to know? I think the messages is still not clear enough.

  4. Actually I just read this again and see it's only featured in-cinema so it wouldn't promote the movie as it's already there. Perhaps they really are aiming at clientele of the future?
    I maintain that taking a more serious approach might work better. I feel that Geico can use something cute because the insurance they offer is mandatory for most people (since you must have auto insurance if you own a car, which most people do), *and* you could save 15% or more...why not choose Geico? Name recognition is of utmost important. However, the Aflac insurance would seem to only be purchased as a precaution, so the trick is not to get people to choose them, but to feel that the need for their protection exists in the first place.

  5. I don't think that this will really help their sales. The people who will be paying the most attention to all of these new promotions are children who clearly are not the target market. Even when parents take their kids to see the movie they might not really be paying that much attention nor will they be in the mindset to make a decision about picking an insurance company. Also, no to be too repetitive, but this still does not explain what Aflac does. Remembering the name is not the issue. The duck is annoying but memorable. They still are not providing a clear explanation of what they do.

  6. I don't think this is the final effort. I think that Aflac must judge better the cost-benefit related to these actions. The link is too subliminar to invest so much money on that. Instead they still should apply this money in a second fase media plan including internet and TV, using a campaing that can still use the duck as central character, but now he shows how he can take advantage of the benefits sold by Aflac and what benefits it is. Using the questions you suggest to evaluate advertising stays clear that, if Aflac's target is make people know what it does, is too early to do these initiatives.