Four agencies, including PainePR, were invited to pitch for the account, according to Jon Sullivan, corporate communications manager for Aflac. He declined to comment further on the agencies involved or the budget. There was no incumbent agency.
By coincidence, Sullivan confirmed that agencies were pitching for the account around the time comedian Gilbert Gottfried, then the voice of the Aflac Duck in commercials, had made controversial tweets about the tsunami that hit Japan. Aflac severed ties with Gottfried shortly after the incident.
"We had met with Aflac's team just prior to the tsunami and had begun to become acquainted with their business because we wanted to hit the ground running if selected as their agency," said Chris Chamberlain, managing partner at PainePR. "It turns out that when the Japan crisis hit, we felt that our team was prepared enough to offer assistance and help Aflac turn the dual crisis into an opportunity."
Aflac accepted PainePR's offer for assistance with the crisis before a long-term contract was signed, Sullivan said. The work included securing local media and setting up six live auditions to find the new voice for the Aflac Duck. These measures ultimately proved valuable and PainePR was awarded the corporate communications contract.
PainePR is currently working on multiple initiatives for Aflac, Chamberlain said, from "executive visibility to amplifying its commitment to pediatric cancer."