Benefit Plan: Colonial Life Chases Aflac

BOSTON Aflac has its iconic duck — and recently, various other animals — in its ads to pique consumer interest.

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance counters with its “Benefits Guys” as the company this week launches an uphill battle to gain market share through a TV, print, online and sponsorship effort fashioned by independent Via in Portland, Maine.

A 30-second commercial, “Sheryl’s Your Guy,” shows small-town life in Kingman, Ariz., where there’s a “local guy” who fixes transmissions and another “guy” who unclogs drains. The “guy” who handles Colonial Life’s policies is a female insurance agent named Sheryl. The tagline: “Making benefits count.”

Overall, the push tries to humanize Colonial by showing the benefits professionals giving customers one-on-one attention, said Tom Gilligan, svp, marketing and branding at the Columbia, S.C.-based client.

“We wanted every potential new customer to feel comfortable and secure in contacting one of Colonial Life’s ‘benefits guys,'” added Greg Smith, CCO at Via.

Print ads will run in broker and human-resources publications as well as small-business magazines. Online elements are appearing on, Yahoo! and

In addition to the media push, Colonial Life has signed on as sole sponsor of the “One-on-One” analysis that runs during ABC’s Saturday college basketball games of the week.

The campaign is Via’s first for Colonial since it added the client at the end of last year. Media spending was not disclosed.

Founded in 1939, the insurer has more than two million policies in force nationwide.