Aflac, Fitzgerald & Co. Part Ways After 20 Years

Media Agency Declines to Defend Business

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NEW YORK ( -- After a 20-year run, Atlanta-based agency Fitzgerald & Co. will no longer handle media-buying and -planning duties for insurer Aflac.

The Interpublic Group of Cos. shop today said it was removing itself from consideration in a review Aflac is conducting of its agency roster. The marketer spends an estimated $75 million on domestic measured media a year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Among other things, Fitzgerald was responsible for a CNN takeover that launched Aflac's iconic duck, and its work for the marketer won a Cannes Media Lions award in the best use of TV category.

In a e-mail to staffers, President-CEO Dave Fitzgerald said the parting with Aflac would not result in an staff cuts.

Aflac is in the midst of a complete overhaul of its agency roster. It announced recently that it is also on the hunt for a new creative agency of record. The incumbent, Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group -- the creators of the Aflac duck -- also declined the opportunity to defend the business.

Executives who have seen the marketer's request for proposal say agencies have been instructed that duck must remain intact in all future advertising efforts. Santa Monica, Calif.-based Select Resources International is managing both reviews.