I have never considered myself an ornithophiliac. I can barely even say the word or spell it. I know little about anatidae other then they can be yellow, fluffy, or rubber. The definition of anatidae is a family of small aquatic birds having short legs, webbed feet and a broad blunt bill. Donald, Daffy, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie leave me uninspired. I have never had Peking duck. Of the 38 species of ducks in the United States, there is only one duck that has captured my heart, the Aflac Duck.
Insurers must have a unique value proposition, relevant differentiated benefits, and listen to the voice of their customers. Aflac is a good case study of an insurance carrier who has spent time researching, defining, and building their brand. Since January 2000, Aflac has used a duck as their spokesperson. This supplemental insurance carrier of health and life products is the gold standard for exceptional branding and marketing. Beginning with their tag line, “We’ve Got You under Our Wing”, the insurer delivers a brand promise of trust and protection that the consumer’s insurance needs will be taken care of when the time arises. The brand promise of Insurance for Daily Living is represented along with the duck mascot throughout the advertising campaigns across all media. My favorite ad was in People Magazine which said “You Don’t Know Quack”, referring to insurance.
The duck has become a fundamental piece in all of the marketing communications. Aflac’s message is delivered clearly by utilizing the duck mascot as a recognizable spokesperson. The icon now resides within the minds and hearts of its customers and prospects. Through the use of the mascot, prospective policyholders are able to identify stability, trust, and protection as part of the products they are considering for purchase.
Currently my favorite duck’s voice is silent. I miss hearing his spirited quack. It had the ability to identify an entire corporate entity with one word – Aflac. Since the first branding campaign, Aflac’s brand recognition has more than taken flight. This icon has managed to capture the hearts and minds of consumers. One lucky fan could even be the new voice of the duck. Earlier this month, 11,000 people applied for the job in person or online through YouTube or QuackAflac.com. The current search for the new voice of the duck has connected current and future policyholders of all age groups. These consumers are now engaged and emotionally involved with the insurance carrier. This is critical when selling any product or service, not just insurance.
As of the time I am writing this blog, Aflac has 10,465 Twitter followers and 250,682 people who like Aflac Duck on Facebook. The social media aspect of this branding campaign provides a personality and a personal connection between Aflac and its customers. Although this brand advertising cannot be measured, this anatid has achieved brand follower’s brilliance.