I try to maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity when it comes to this website, but it’s Saturday and it’s been a long week. Certainly the weekend is meant to recharge our batteries when we’ve held up so well over the entire week. Not everything is water off a duck’s back.
So, here I am, getting my knit on and an Aflac commercial comes on television. Looks like the duck is injured and the good folks at Aflac are turning to the public for a cute little campaign to cheer him up in his time of need. Here’s Aflac’s press release, which is available on their website, but I’ll put it here to give your Google bar a break:
“COLUMBUS, Ga., Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –After being bonked by soccer balls, swatted with logs, plunged into the Grand Canyon, and singed on a barbecue grill, the Aflac Duck is facing what millions of Americans experience every year—a debilitating injury. In a new series of television commercials that debuted yesterday during college football’s national BCS Championship game, it was revealed that the daredevil of barnyard animals – just like anyone else – is vulnerable to an unexpected injury.
The fully integrated campaign also includes substantial online and print advertising and features an interactive social media component enabling consumers to send an online get well card or e-Card to the Aflac Duck via the Duck’s Facebook page or at GetWellDuck.com.
This fresh advertising story begins with a commercial titled Press Conference in which a “doctor” discusses an undisclosed accident that has caused the Aflac Duck to be hospitalized with injuries to his beak and his wing. The campaign demonstrates the challenges that everyday American’s can face when an unexpected accident or illness causes them to miss work. Only this time, it is the iconic Aflac Duck who will provide a first-hand perspective as a policyholder; while shedding light on how Aflac’s insurance policies can help protect families against common, but unexpected setbacks.
“Our plan is to leverage the incredible awareness and likeability that the Aflac Duck has amassed over the past 12 years to connect with consumers in a personal way that will both entertain and inform,” Aflac Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Michael Zuna said. “The new commercials will make viewers laugh, but they have a very serious message; if the Aflac Duck can get hurt, anyone can get hurt. And that’s why everyone needs Aflac.”
According to the National Safety Council, accidental falls account for more than 8.7 million emergency room visits in the United States each year. And, data from Face the Facts, a project of The George Washington University, shows that the average cost of a hospital stay in the U.S. was $33,079 in 2010. However, the 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report indicates that half (51%) of U.S. workers said they have less than $1,000 for such emergency expenses and 28% have less than $500.1”
“Unfortunately, accidents happen,” Zuna said. “Aflac policies help provide a necessary safety net that enables policyholders to worry less about the financial effects of an unexpected injury or illness.1“
Aflac, much like health insurance in general, always felt like a bit of a scam to me. For anyone who’s been sick or injured, fired from work or jobless – just overall in a situation struggling, the concept of protection from mounting bills and debt is highly tempting.
And that’s how Alfac makes its money – by preying on people’s fears that they’ll get themselves into a situation, oftentimes through no fault of their own, and dig themselves into a hole they can’t get out of. Getting some kind of security like Alfac may seem like the responsible thing to do.
My mother always said… if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true.
Here are some complaints I pulled up from the Consumer Affairs website:
Kristen of Mission Viejo, CA on Nov. 19, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
“I am on disability for a problem pregnancy and cannot get paid. Also, my husband was out for 2 knee surgeries and could not get paid. They dig and dig until they come up with an excuse to not pay. I have made complaints to the Insurance Commissioner and will continue to fight back. But who wants this headache for a policy they paid for? Beware of Aflac! We are taxpaying citizens, and I am having better luck and response from the State of CA than Aflac. How crazy is that!”
Frank of San Diego, CA on Sept. 13, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 2/5
“Aflac is a joke just like its commercials. When it comes to filing a big claim, Aflac disowns you and it takes a long time for them to communicate with but when it comes to them getting paid, they will take the money out of your account in a heartbeat. My blood pressure has gone up a few times in filing one claim. It’s not healthy for me or any customer.”
John of Trabuco Canyon, CA on April 27, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
“I enrolled in a policy with Aflac in November. In December, I had a heart attack which was covered under the policy I have. I started my claim first thing in January. It has now been four months and I’m constantly having to contact the rep because I get absolutely no satisfactory answers from the claims department. If I don’t call, nothing is done, period. I am at the point to contact a lawyer to get assistance. In my business, if I did not follow through, I would have no business.”
You can make up your own mind about services like Aflac; I wouldn’t waste my time on them. I’ve never been a policyholder but after doing my research I’d rather struggle than hold on to the false pretense that a giant company truly cares about me and not my money.
Aflac should have an alternative website addressing their very real ignorance in regards to real people’s struggles versus this imaginary duck’s imaginary injuries. How about sending an e-card to DuckOff.com? I’d send a couple e-cards their way.
1. Aflac Press Release
2. Consumer Affairs