Aflac Leaps Into Radio

ATLANTA Aflac plans to launch a national radio campaign next week with two 30-second spots targeting small business owners, the company said.

The spots will air on radio networks including ABC and CNN, as well as on various talk shows.

The Columbus, Ga.-based insurance company said it has bought time on the stations through the third quarter of this year, but could extend the campaign if results warrant it. The client spent $75 million on advertising last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

One spot created by New York’s The Kaplan Thaler Group, the client’s lead agency, features an ant calling the company about coverage for his “small business.” Another execution, created by Fitzgerald + Co. in Atlanta, offers tips for small business owners. (This will be the first national spot created by Fitzgerald, which provides media planning and buying for Aflac.)

The two spots drive listeners to a business tip Web site, www.aflacsb.com, which is scheduled to launch simultaneously with the radio work.

“We want to let people know that we are a partner in small business,” said Al Johnson, vice president of branding and marketing at Aflac. “We think radio is the most effective way to reach small business owners.”

The ads feature a brief audio “quack” by Aflac’s iconic duck.

The radio work, which the company characterized as its first national campaign in that medium, follows a TV spot launched at the beginning of the month. In that 30-second commercial, created by Kaplan Thaler, the Aflac duck falls into a mailbox along a street while trying to help a couple mail their household bills. The spot ends with actor Earl Billings, a recurring character in all the television work, giving one of his classic baffled looks when he finds the duck inside the mailbox.

“The Aflac duck continues his mission of helping customers as he takes on the task of ensuring that bills are paid while a female policyholder recuperates from an illness,” said Dan Amos, chairman and CEO of Aflac. “We believe this new ad demonstrates in a fun way how Aflac can help people maintain financial independence during an injury or illness.”

This story updates and corrects an earlier item, noting that Aflac’s duck is represented in the radio work. Versions of the spots sent to ‘Adweek’ did not include the duck.