Inside Aflac's #Duckprints pediatric cancer campaign

The insurance company gave $2 to the Aflac Cancer Center for every tweet, post, share, and comment on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube that used the hashtag #Duckprints.

COLUMBUS, GA: Aflac generated more than 900,000 social actions throughout 2016, pushing its #Duckprints campaign past the $1.5 million mark for the first time since it launched in 2013.

As part of the campaign, the insurance provider contributes $2 to the Aflac Cancer Center for every tweet, post, share, and comment on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube that uses the hashtag #Duckprints.

The company used a wide array of channels to market the campaign, including traditional media, webcasts, and events. Communications was especially effective, said Catherine Blades, SVP of corporate comms at Aflac.

"Whenever you’re talking about ill children, you never want to look like you’re exploiting rather than supporting the families," she explained. "We want to make sure we’re portraying these families accurately and what they’re going through without making it more difficult on them."

For the first time, Aflac sponsored CureFest, a two-day event in Washington, DC, bringing together 250 organizations. It also partnered with The Washington Post on the Chasing Cancer initiative in December, Blades said.

The Post’s webstream had an audience of 3,600 people, and it ultimately pushed the campaign over the edge by generating enough social media actions to surpass the $1.5 million goal.

Aflac also launched the second iteration of a CSR survey in partnership with the Reputation Institute and conducted a satellite media tour promoting its data and research.

"With the satellite media tours for CureFest and Chasing Cancer, the CSR survey, and our social media plan, we noticed a spike in hashtag use every time we did one of these events and put editorial media around it," Blades said.

Aflac also hosts a handful of regional events each year at pediatric cancer facilities honoring key figures in the fight against childhood cancer, such as comedian Jeff Foxworthy and former Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

Aflac worked with KWI comms on CureFest, while CSE, formerly known as Career Sports & Entertainment, came up with the #Duckprints concept and helped with regional live events. Big Fuel handled social media and A-1 Broadcast worked on satellite media tours.

Over two decades, Aflac has raised more than $113 million for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer. Independent agents also collectively donate about $500,000 every month to the Aflac Cancer Center, Blades added

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