Aflac Will Push Speedy Service at Grammy's, Daytona 500

Insurer's $100 Million-Plus Campaign Is Its Largest Ever

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Aflac will speed viewers through commercial breaks at TV events like the Grammy's and the Daytona 500 this year as part of a push for its "One Day Pay" initiative, which processes and pays claims within one business day.

The campaign, which launched this week, is Aflac's largest-ever marketing push, according to CMO Michael Zuna. The budget is upwards of $100 million, or 90% of Aflac's marketing budget for the year, he said.

Aflac spent $112 million on U.S. measured-media in 2013, according to Kantar Media.

"The time has never been better for Aflac to bring this exclusive and amazing claims payment service to our policyholders and let the America know about it," said Mr. Zuna. "We knew that our customers were demanding faster more transparent quicker service and we're able to bring it to them."

To push its speedy service, Aflac is leveraging major TV events like the Grammy's and the Daytona 500 by negotiating with networks to skip commercial breaks during core moments of the programming. For example, it may skip the last commercial break in a Nascar race to show viewers more of the road to the finish line. Similarly, the company will sponsor uninterrupted portions of suspenseful scenes in films like "The Bourne Legacy" on FX, and speed-related skits on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

MediaVest, Aflac's lead media agency, handled planning, buying and activation for the campaign.

Aflac is an official sponsor of the Grammy's on Feb. 8, and the Aflac Duck will walk the red carpet during the pre-show -- a first for an advertising brand icon, Mr. Zuna said. The honor was bestowed upon the spokesduck for its 15th birthday. Aflac will also accelerate commercial breaks during the Red Carpet show on E! Live to bring viewers more of the red carpet, and launch a spot during the awards ceremony on CBS.

In the spot, called "Eureka! One Day Pay," a pair of hikers comes across two prospectors who are mining for claims, and the miners are amazed when they learn how quickly Aflac pays claims.

"People know that insurance claims are buried in the hills and it's not easy to find them, but at Aflac you can get yours processed, approved and paid in a day," said Mr. Zuna.

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The ad was done by Aflac's lead creative agency, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, which created the duck 15 years ago.

The Grammy's will be Aflac's first foray into the music scene in an effort to break into more diverse markets. "The Grammy's presented a unique opportunity to take Aflac and connect with America and hopefully a younger, more diverse audience in a very authentic and soulful way," said Mr. Zuna.

For the past few years, Aflac has made "aggressive" investments aimed at Hispanic and African- American audiences, he said. "We're really paying attention to overall U.S. market trends and demographics and making sure we're on the pointy tip of the sphere, bringing those customers into our franchise when they reach those moments when they might consider our product," said Mr. Zuna.

Currently, Aflac's core consumers are average American families. "It's mom in a household of four with a household income of $75,000 living in Kansas City, Mo.," said Mr. Zuna, in an example.

Aflac will round out its campaign for "One Day Pay" with digital marketing and a social push that features behind-the-scenes videos and webisodes featuring the Aflac Duck, as well as videos of real claims specialists to give viewers a peek into the claims process.

"People love the duck, so they want to see more," said Kip Havel, VP-communications and content marketing. "We're taking this and having somewhat of a digital-first approach to this content, which we've never done before."

The emphasis on "One Day Pay" and Aflac's quick claims processing will be the insurer's primary messaging for the foreseeable future, Mr. Zuna said.

Aflac works with Firstborn on digital, Big Fuel on social, Conill Advertising on Hispanic marketing, Career Sports & Entertainment on sports marketing, and Hill & Knowlton on public relations.

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