Link: Click Here – It is the last spot entitled “Aflac Duck”
Target: Insurance seekers
Another Duck ad. In this one, a man lays on a hammock thanking the Aflac duck for helping out since his disability. The duck participates with the family in quick shots. Then the duck loses balance on its hammock and goes flying, causing it to shriek “AFLAC!!”
Formerly a little-known insurer, Aflac has gained tremendous visibility and brand awareness through these spots featuring the ubiquitous duck honking “Aflac!” For such a simple gag, the duck has been unbelievably succesful in fixing Aflac’s name in the minds of US consumers. This spot is interesting because of being invisible to the humans – as the Aflac duck most often is, this time the duck is interacting directly with them. This seems to mirror the duck’s success of being recognized by the public.
No matter how you feel about these spots, it is very hard to argue that they’ve taken an unknown company and made it a household name. They are entertaining and visually engaging and the “Aflac” duck-honk creates a strong memory association to the brand. It is actually a clever successor to the ad jingles of the fifties and sixties which recognized that distinctive sounds can create a strong memory trigger.
The bigger question for Aflac is what to do with the duck as the mission of the advertising changes from awareness of the brand to creating a real value proposition for the consumer. Aflac is a household name but so is Allstate and Prudential and Geico, etc. Aflac needs to build a rationale for interested consumers to take the next step and contact an Aflac agent.
And this is where we reach a tricky problem with that duck. The duck is overpowering. It is such a strong visual and auditory trick that it is very hard to focus on anything or remember anyting in the spots other than the duck itself. It would be very interesting to see ASI test results for the Aflac commercials and see how many of the secondary points in the spots got high recall. We’re guessing that the answer is ‘not many.’
As it turns out, Aflac does really have some product diffentiation from other insurers. Aflac insurance pays the beneficiary directly even for health claims, allowing them to choose how to handle their treatment and make their own priorities. It is more like life insurance in this way. This might be appealing to people for whom an injury resulting in lost work time can create a cascading series of related crises.
But how many consumers will understand this from the Aflac advertising? Probably not many. At this point all Aflac has done is to reinforce the morale of its salespeople and give them more credibility with client prospects.
We don’t have a solution to the duck dilemma. Aflac has created an icon with the duck and walking away from it would be difficult. But Aflac needs advertising that does more than just honk its name.
Branding Bottom Line:
Now that we all know their name, the duck could become an albatross for Aflac.