He’s a survivor: Aflac duck tackles ‘Physical Therapy’ in TV commercial that debuts Monday night on 'The Voice'

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comApril 1, 2013 

Here’s the storyline so far: The Aflac duck has suffered an unexpected injury — a lacerated wing and fractured beak no less — landing the creature in the hospital for an extended stay.

What’s next? Rehab, of course.

That’s the premise of the third television installment of this year’s ad campaign by Columbus-based Aflac. The newest commercial made its debut Monday night on “The Voice,” the singing competition that features judges Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Shakira and Usher. The show airs 8-10 p.m. on NBC.

Dubbed “Physical Therapy,” a 60-second version of the commercial appeared on “The Voice,” while a 30-second spot will be the norm as it airs on various broadcast and cable networks in the coming weeks.

“The Aflac Duck and our brand is not an image. It is an experience,” Michael Zuna, Aflac’s chief marketing executive, said in a statement. “Physical Therapy and this interactive integration are reminding consumers why they fell in love with the Aflac Duck more than 10 years ago and why Aflac remains a household name.”

Aflac launched the most recent ad campaign in January, with a doctor telling reporters at a press conference about the feathered waterfowl’s injuries. It was followed in February by a spot showing the duck laying in a hospital bed amid concerned medical interns.

The ultimate theme, as usual, is that Aflac pays injured or ill holders of its supplemental insurance policies extra cash for living expenses while they are out of work — that’s money for things like gas, groceries, rent, car payments and cell phone bills.

Aflac has mixed the TV campaign with social media, asking those concerned about the duck’s health to send get-well cards through through Aflac.com and its Facebook page. The effort also encourages people to check out a “Real Cost Calculator” to help them understand the extra expenses associated with serious illnesses and injuries.

Zuna noted that 35,000 get-well cards have been sent to the duck, while yet another website, ducktherapy.com, has been launched to entertain and enlighten consumers.

A quick note: The 60-second commercial shows the often-comical duck seriously struggling its way through therapy before starting to get its energy and range of motion back. Then, of course, comes more humor, with the rehab progressing to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger,” a 1982 song by the American rock band, Survivor.

For those counting, this is the 58th television commercial featuring the Aflac duck.

Here's the 30 second commercial:

And here's the 60 second commercial:

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