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Aflac Revises Role of Signature Duck

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NEW YORK Aflac has redesigned its logo to include its well-known duck, and will break new work on Jan. 1 that evolves the icon's role in its advertising, the company said.

Laura Kane, a representative for the Columbus, Ga.-based insurer, said the duck, famous in television spots for quacking "Aflac," would continue to be the centerpiece in advertising. New TV ads, however, will be more explanatory about the benefits of having Aflac insurance, she added.

The former logo's blue graphic was meant to represent a family of four within the Aflac name. The new design features the duck's head embedded in the corporate name.

Publicis Groupe's The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York created the duck character in a campaign that launched in 2000. A few months ago, Aflac tapped Interpublic Group's Futurebrand to research consumer attitudes toward the brand and to redesign the logo, Kane said.

"We want to be a company that's more approachable," she explained. "To strengthen and reinforce the brand promise that Aflac is there for consumers."

Future advertising will emphasize Aflac's products and services, rather than focusing on the duck's travails.

One of the insights that Futurebrand uncovered, Kane said, was the idea that "now matters" to people who are injured on the job and need cash benefits not obtainable through traditional health insurance.

Kane said media spending for next year would be unchanged. The client spent $60 million in media from January through September 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

New TV spots are in development at Kaplan Thaler, Kane said.