Aflac duck ruffles feathers after riding the subway

25 Sep

Ey up duck! I’ve got to hand it to Aflac for using a duck to promote its insurance business by letting it do its thing in New York, including riding the subway.

The Aflac duck has been part of the company’s brand identity since 1999, after an advertising executive walking around Central Park muttering the business name realised it sounded a lot like a duck’s ‘quack’. After that, the Aflac duck became the star of TV adverts, but never before has the brand used a live one to promote the business.

And it might not get the chance again after the news of a duck on the loose ruffled feathers. MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg stressed that ‘ducks don’t belong on the subway… especially waddling through stations’, obviously.

I do like a rebel stunt and the fact that a risk averse insurance client signed this off is simply brilliant. Live animals spotted in unusual settings will always get tongues wagging, and Aflac’s achieved just that with the New York Post and the Huffington Post having its say.

So the stunt’s paid off and no cringe-worthy branding was needed because the duck has so much history with the company. But I doubt they’ll be able to smuggle a duck on the subway again. Adam’s got his beady eye Aflac now. But, what’s a duck meant to do?

According to PR Week, he’d come straight from a recording session with N Sync’s Lance Bass and Joey Fatone.

Good PR by Aflac or has it just been spun a tale by the quack doctors?

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