Aflac to highlight pediatric cancer, blood disorders center with new Kickoff Game sponsorship

The company will also use the college football game sponsorship to promote its cancer insurance.

Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz stadium is the site of the Aflac Kickoff Game. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

ATLANTA: Aflac, a longtime sponsor of college sports, has added something new to its portfolio: the big game that gets the college football season underway.

The contest between Atlantic Coast Conference schools Georgia Tech and the University of Louisville is scheduled for September 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The insurer signed a three-year contract with the Peach Bowl organization to sponsor the event, which is now known as the Aflac Kickoff Game.

The insurance company will also use the sponsorship to highlight its cancer insurance product and increase awareness of a pediatric cancer and blood disorders center, according to Garth Knutson, Aflac chief marketing officer.

“We know that our target customer over-indexes as viewers and fans of college football, so that's the reason we have been in sports marketing around college football for so long,” Knutson said. “[It] is a big game. People talk about it.”

Aflac has also conducted campaigns with prominent college sports figures such as football coaches Nick Saban and Deion Sanders of the universities of Alabama and Colorado, respectively, and women’s college basketball coach Dawn Staley of the University of South Carolina. 

The company is also conducting the campaign because “awareness of cancer insurance is very low,” Knutson said. The game is “a great place to educate people about the products that Aflac sells, and we are the pioneers of cancer insurance.”

The company will also promote the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and seek donations for the treatment facility. The insurer hopes to raise a few hundred thousand dollars for the center during the activation, according to Allison+Partners, which is managing PR for the effort. 

Knutson will attend the ACC media days from July 25 to 27 and promote the game with Gary Stokan, the president and CEO of Peach Bowl Inc. 

About a week before the game, the campaign will roll out advertising at a train station near the stadium and on billboards, taxis and buses, Knutson said. It is also likely to include content featuring Aflac cancer center employees, families and children and advertisements with Saban and Sanders.

“The day after the game, we would like every adult in Atlanta and every college football fan in America to be aware of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center,” Knutson said. 

The other agencies working on the campaign are Dagger, handling creative and advertising, Spark Foundry, overseeing paid media, and experiential firm You Are Here.

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