Aflac’s new advertising campaign “You Don’t Know Quack” is under legal attack, Jack.
Chicago-based Jellyvision Inc., a company that “creates and develops unique interactive experiences,” has filed a suit in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division against the Columbus insurer for trademark infringement.
Jellyvision created and marketed the interactive game “You Don’t Know Jack,” which was briefly an ABC television show in 2001.
And the company took offense when Aflac launched its “You Don’t Know Quack” advertising campaign earlier this month, claiming there could be confusion between the two slogans.
“Aflac’s use is unauthorized by Jellyvision and represents an effort to trade on the valuable goodwill and reputation associated with Jellyvision and its You Don’t Know Jack mark,” according to the suit.
The Illinois company was Aflac to quit using the slogan and is seeking financial compensation, according to the suit.
Jellyvision general counsel Kurt J. Hirsch said Monday that attorneys representing Jellyvision and Aflac are “attempting to reach an amicable solution.”
Though the suit has been filed in federal court, Aflac has not been served, Hirsch said.
Aflac, through its spokesperson, Laura Kane, declined to comment.
“We don’t discuss pending litigation,” Kane said.
Part of the Aflac campaign is an interactive Web site, www.youdontknowquack.com. Visitors to the site, which was still in operation late Monday, are asked three true-false questions.
That is where the confusion comes into play, according the Jellyvision suit.
“Aflac’s use of You Don’t Know Quack has caused, and is likely to continue to cause confusion with regard to the affiliation or connection between Aflac and Jellyvision, and with regard to the source, sponsorship, or approval of Aflac’s game, resulting in the unjust enrichment of Aflac,” the suit claims.
You Don’t Know Jack was released in 1995, according to the Jellyvision Web site. It is described by the company as “an instant best-seller” that “redefined the trivia game market for adults with its direct-response interactivity and snarky fusion of high culture and pop culture.”
It currently exists on 10 CD-ROMS, two PlayStation titles, a tabletop version, two books, a daily online game and numerous foreign language versions, according to the company.
When Aflac launched its campaign it was moving away from name recognition advertising to better defining the company’s products and what they do for consumers.
The campaign’s theme line — “You Don’t Know Quack” — is meant to be disruptive, Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Charney said at two weeks ago.
Charney called the campaign approach “very bold, very in your face — in a good way.” It consists of 40 different elements, including billboards in Times Square and on Sunset Boulevard, huge and unconventional ads in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, and night projections of the duck (think Batman bat signal) in certain cities.
Charney said the campaign challenges consumers to engage in reverse dialogue — rather than having the company “push information” on them.