Columbus, GA: Aflac continues its recent public relations efforts by sponsoring the Aflac All-American Classic to be played on August 6th and broadcast on Fox Sports Net on August 8th.
The supplemental workplace insurance firm known for a duck that brays the company's name has been working on numerous sponsorships to elevate the brand.
The game features all-star high school players that are selected in tandem with Baseball America, a publication that covers minor leagues baseball, and Perfect Game, a high school scouting and statistic-compiling organization.
The lead-up to the game involves a 23-city promotional tour that began with a press conference with the game's honorary chairman and captain, former Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, and ended with a press conference where Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens named the game's players. The company hired the Zimmerman Group to help them with PR surrounding this event. Led by senior account manager Stefanie Wuckovich and account manager Jenny Meale, the five-person team is assisting with national sports media outreach, as well as targeting localized coverage in the players? hometown markets.
Aflac has had a long association with baseball through its Aflac trivia played at MLB baseball games.
"It's a really good audience for us, and there's something really exciting about [working with] these kids at this point in their career," said corporate communications manager Laura Kane.
The Aflac duck was used for a David Letterman show appearance with the US Olympic synchronized swimming team last week, which the company pitched to the show. Its PR techniques were recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article.
"We're getting more aggressive," Kane said. "We try to find interesting things for the duck to do. It's great because you can have a lot of fun with it, as [the duck] is a celebrity in its own right."
The duck was created when the company began looking for a way to increase its 12% name recognition, Kane said.
"We had a creative shootout with a bunch of advertising agencies and the Aflac duck commercial tested the best," she said.
Aflac uses The Kaplan Thaler Group for its advertising needs and primarily does PR in-house. Both work together for situations involving the duck, she said.
Even with advertising, Aflac finds ways to circumvent the high pay structure for buying time.
"One of the reasons we're so successful is our CEO supports PR efforts," Kane said.
Aflac CEO Dan Amos regularly goes on business cable programs to introduce the commercial, she said.
"If it were Laura Kane, no one would care," she said.