When a company advertises, it is for the purpose of COMMUNICATING A MESSAGE.   The advertising message exists to educate/inform the consumer… or… persuade/convince/influence the consumer… or… remind the consumer about the brand/product/service name.  That’s what your IMC Plan on which you are working is intended to do.  

When Aflac launched its ad campaign that featured that White duck (Aflaaaaaaaaaaac!!), it had one specific objective:  it was to increase awareness of the Aflac BRAND.  Yep, rememberability.  Here’s why…

Aflac did marketing research 17 or so years ago ago and learned that about 12%~ of its target market recognized the Aflac brand. That meant that 88%~ of the target market had minimal or absolutely no idea what Aflac was. The company met with its advertising agency and came up with (drum roll, please) a communications objective to make 50% of the target market aware that “Aflac provides supplemental insurance.” 
The agency was stumped as to how to make “Aflac” rememberable.  Yet, “Aflac” sounded like a duck quacking. Story of the Aflac Duck  

From this, came the Aflac duck campaign… and, as a result of that feathery white creature and upon follow-on marketing research, the company reported a VERY successful advertising campaign that resulted in a 90%+ brand awareness of that message. It was a VERY successful advertising campaign.

Thus, Aflac and its ad agency very nicely attained and surpassed the communications objective that it had set.

What was interesting is that the CEO of Aflac decided about five years ago to downplay the duck in its ads. Yet, we still see the duck. It’s even part of the company’s logo. Take a look at the ad and the logo at: Aflac Ads 

Should Aflac minimize that duck’s visibility?  Did Taco Bell make a mistake by doing away with its Chihuahua?  Did Dunkin Donuts make a mistake by doing away with the Fred (“Gotta make the donuts”) character [Note: Fred died a few years ago]? What about the character that said, “You’re getting a DELL, Dude!”??? These characters helped to make those brands what they are… yet, advertising also calls for fresh approaches, too!

What do you think?  Tie your comments to the text.

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