The duck and the driver.
Aflac, the country’s largest provider of supplemental insurance, brings a ubiquitous corporate mascot into the world of NASCAR. And while over 90 percent of Americans are familiar with Aflac’s iconic duck, their primary partnership with NASCAR champion Carl Edwards provides Aflac an engaging, credible and authentic spokesperson to deliver their brand promise in creative, memorable ways, immersing Aflac and how they help millions of Americans through difficult times into the hearts of motorsports fans and the American public.
The pervasive rights to use Edwards and his Roush Fenway team allow an icon of sports to interact with the sponsor's iconic duck with virtually no limits with respect to geography or calendar year. The two have appeared together in television commercials, Carl as the straight-faced, likeable spokes-athlete and the duck as its irrepressible self. Interestingly, one spot aired in primetime during NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics and featured Carl and the duck on the ski slopes with no references to auto racing. This speaks to the crossover appeal and the high recognition that the best-performing drivers in the sport attain.
“Under Our Wing.”
As much attention as Aflac has received on the consumer side of motorsports, it has been in business-to-business where things have really revved up. Aflac's "Under Our Wing" program uses Roush Fenway's "pass through" rights to share certain sponsorship rights as a reward for existing business relationships and to encourage additional business. "We like to give our customers the sponsorship experience. It's fun and memorable for them, and valuable for us," says Keith Farley, Aflac's senior manager of corporate sponsorships. Aflac also uses powerful customer engagement events at race events to engage potential clients, usually HR executives and business owners. This includes the use of both suites and chalets at track.
Another popular way Aflac encourages both consumers and B2B audiences away from the racetrack is through Roush Fenway's "show car" program. Aflac has actually taken previously-raced Roush Fenway race cars carrying Aflac's No. 99 paint scheme to a prospective client's place of business to make a huge impact, engage employees face-to-face and conduct question/answer sessions. In addition, Carl Edwards routinely visits small groups in Aflac's hospitality suites, chalets and during track tours, and has given motivational speeches at national Aflac meetings for a number of years.