company_name = Aflac
company_type = Public (NYSE|AFL)
foundation = 1955
Dan Amos, Chairman, CEO
num_employees = 4,538 (2007)
Accidentand Health Insurance
products = Supplemental
Healthand Life Insurance
revenue = profit$15.393 billion USD (2007)
net_income = profit$1.634 billion USD (2007)
homepage = [http://www.aflac.com/ aflac.com]
Aflac (NYSE|AFL, tyo|8686) sells supplemental health and life insurance in the United States and Japan. In the United States, Aflac is known for its policies, which pay cash benefits when a policyholder has a covered accident or sickness. Most of Aflac's policies are individually underwritten and marketed through its independent agents.
Since 1999, the company's identity has become more widely recognized, as the result of commercials featuring the Aflac Duck, who frustratedly quacks the company's name to unsuspecting prospective policyholders.
The company was founded by three brothers, John, Paul, and Bill Amos, in
Columbus, Georgia, in 1955 as American Family Life Insurance Company (not to be confused with American Family Insurance). In 1964 the company’s corporate name was changed to American Family Life Assurance Company, and then in 1990 the acronym was formally adopted as the company's name. The company had 6,426 policyholders in 1956.
American Family Life pioneered cancer insurance in 1958. Beginning in 1964 the company decided to focus sales on worksite settings. By 2003, more than 98 percent of the company's policies in the United States were issued on a payroll-deduction basis, making the company the U.S. leader in that sales approach.
In 1973 American Family Life established a holding company, the American Family Corporation. The company's 1990 adoption of the "AFLAC" name set it apart from the many other insurance firms that include the word "American" in their names. (The official name on the firm's Web site, and for legally selling insurance, is "American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.")
In 2005, the logo was changed to incorporate a
duckcharacter, which is prominently featured in its advertising. In addition, the official spelling of the company name became "Aflac."
Aflac operates in the
United Statesand Japan(where the term "American Family" is still used in commercials). Aflac U.S. total new annualized premium sales rose 9.5 percent in 2007 to a record $1.6 billion, according to the company's [http://thomson.mobular.net/thomson/7/2548/3023/ 2007 annual report] . In Japan, premium income rose 4.3 percent to ¥1.1 trillion, compared with ¥1.0 trillion in 2006, again according to the company's [http://thomson.mobular.net/thomson/7/2548/3023/ 2007 annual report] .
Aflac's worldwide headquarters and corporate offices are located in an 18-story tower east of downtown
Columbus, Georgia. [ [http://sec.edgar-online.com/1996/03/26/00/0000004977-96-000006/Section4.asp Aflac Inc. 2006 Annual Report] , EDGAR Online; retrieved January 2007]
At the end of 2007, the corporation's total assets were more than $65 billion, with more than 40 million policyholders worldwide. The company is the largest provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States and the largest insurance company overall in Japan, when measured by individual insurance policies in force. Aflac launched a campaign in 2001 to promote their first accident policy in Japan, which the Wall Street Journal rated as one of the "ten most effective campaigns of 2000."
The company now offers several types of insurance products in the United States, including the following:
*Cancer/Specified disease indemnity
*Hospital confinement indemnity
*Hospital intensive care
*Specified health event
*Unreimbursed medical and dependent day care flexible spending accounts
The Aflac brand has developed wide recognition recently with commercials starring the famous Aflac
Duck(with Gilbert Gottfriedproviding the voice) on televisionwhich started airing in December 1999. The duck concept and all of the commercials to date have been created by Kaplan Thaler Group, an advertising agency based in New York City. Struggling to come up with a concept to make the big but relatively obscure insurance company's name memorable, art director Eric David stumbled upon the duck idea by walking around Central Park at lunchtime uttering, "Aflac, Aflac." He soon realized how much the company's name sounded like a duck's quack. David provides one of the duck's two voices: Although Gottfried handles the duck's screams, David does the normal Aflac quacks. The Aflac Duck character has now starred in more than 30 different commercials. Aflac competitor Geicohad a commercial in the late 1990s that featured a duck that removed his bill to show a smaller one in its place, and said "smaller bill" for comedic value.
The creation of an effective, new, and recognizable brand identity for the company surrounding the duck is regarded as a significant modern
branding case study [Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages That Deliver Results by Kathryn Hendershot-Hurd Page 152 Kathryn Hendershot-Hurd, 2006 ISBN 1601450486] . Since the introduction of the Aflac Duck in commercials, Aflac's name recognition among consumers shot up from just 2% in 1990 to 80% in 2001. There was a corresponding increase in sales as well from $555 million in 1999 to $919 million in 2001. [The Best of Branding: Best Practices in Corporate Branding by James R. Gregory Page 131 McGraw-Hill Professional, 2003 ISBN 0071403299]
The effect is created through a combination of footage of real ducks, CGI effects, and lifelike
puppets for close-ups. Most of the commercials feature humans discussing the insurance that Aflac provides, although they are unable to remember the name of the company. The duck quacks the Aflac name, trying to jog their memory. The duck also has a temper, which leads it to angered outbursts that invariably backfire. Misfortunes befalling the Aflac Duck include falling into the Grand Canyon, getting hit by a train, sliding off a snowy rooftop and onto a snowman, getting placed on an intense roller coaster, and being hit by a falling automobile. In many commercials, it seems that there is only one person who actually notices the duck, a character played by Earl Billings. This character was in many of the earlier ads with the duck. The character, however, has never spoken during the ads and seems to be unnerved by the presence of the duck.
Celebrities have also starred in the Aflac ads, including
Chevy Chase, Yogi Berra, Yao Ming, Donald Trump's wife Melania Trump, NASCARdriver Carl Edwards,and the United States Olympic synchronized swimmingteam. Berra's first ad, "Berra at the Barber," takes place in a barber shop and features three new Yogiisms: :"It's the one you really need to have. If you don't have it, that's why you need it.":"If you get hurt and miss work, it won't hurt to miss work.":"They give you cash, which is just as good as money."
Since 2001, the Aflac Duck also appears in commercials in Japan [Principles of Advertising: A Global Perspective by Monle Lee, Carla Johnson Page 166 Haworth Press, 2005 ISBN 0789023008] though with a slightly different voice quacking "Aflac!" The personality of the Japanese Aflac Duck is less grumpy than in the U.S. commercials. The duck also smiles in some of the Japanese ads, sings along to songs and happily stamps its feet in time to music. The Aflac Duck appears in Japanese commercials as a reassuring character. [ [http://www.aflac.com/us/en/aboutaflac/aflaccommercials.aspx Aflac Japan commercials] From Aflac.com]
The most recent Aflac commercial features an orangutan who represents a non-Aflac insurance company. The orangutan shakes its head "No" and creates chaos as a factory worker asks her boss if their non-Aflac insurance will offer the same benefits that Aflac does. [ [http://aflac.com/us/en/aboutaflac/aflaccommercials.aspx Aflac "Orangutan" commercial] From Aflac.com]
Aflac sells plush Aflac Duck dolls, and the proceeds benefit the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, which is recognized as one of the top five childhood cancer treatment and research centers in the United States by Child magazine. The sales began after the popularity of the commercials began to generate requests from the public asking where they could purchase "the duck" [The Best of Branding: Best Practices in Corporate Branding by James R. Gregory Page 139 McGraw-Hill Professional, 2003 ISBN 0071403299] . The sales are made through the company's Web site and also through retail partners such as Macy's department stores. Since 2001, sales of the Aflac duck have raised nearly $2 million to benefit the center [ [http://www.aflac.com/us/en/aboutaflac/fightingpediatriccancer.aspx History - The Aflac Cancer Center] from Aflac.com] .
Aflac has been included in "Fortune" magazine's listing of America's Most Admired Companies for seven consecutive years and in the magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for ten consecutive years. Aflac is also noted by other sources for providing an excellent workplace environment. It has been recognized by "Computerworld" magazine's list of the 100 Best Places to Work in IT, as well as by "Training" magazine's Training Top 100 list of companies with outstanding workforce development programs. Aflac has also been recognized repeatedly by "Fortune" magazine's listing of the Top 50 Employers for Minorities and "Working Mother" magazine's listing of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. In April 2008, Aflac was named to Forbes magazine’s list of the Global 2000 and to its Global High Performers list. Aflac has received an A+ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best (June 26, 2007).
[http://thomson.mobular.net/thomson/7/2548/3023/ 2007 Annual Report]
[http://www.aflac.com/us/en/aboutaflac/history.aspx Corporate History]
* [http://www.aflac.com/ Aflac]
* [http://www.aflac.com/us/en/employers/ourpolicies.aspx Aflac Products]
* [http://www.aflac.com/us/en/employers/ourservices.aspx Aflac Services]
* [http://www.aflac.com/us/en/investors/default.aspx Aflac Investor Relations]
* [http://www.aflac.com/us/en/careers/default.aspx Aflac Careers]
* [http://www.aflac.com/us/en/aboutaflac/aflaccommercials.aspx Commercials featuring the Aflac Duck] (with ringtones, wallpapers and other Aflac Duck-related content)
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