November 2012

cliff 1


economic evolution

The Aflac holiday duck being sold at Macy's stores this year to raise money for pediatric cancer hospitals was designed by  Monica Sandoval, a young cancer patient.

Aflac is trying to generate a deeper emotional connection with consumers through its big annual holiday season charity fund-raiser.  Each November since 2000, Aflac has worked with Macy’s to sell plush-toy Aflac ducks and donate the net proceeds to nearby pediatric cancer hospitals. The cost: $10 for a six-inch duck and $15 for a 10-inch duck.

Promotional efforts make innovative use of social media.  Aflac has established a presence on TwitterFacebook, Foursquare, GetGlue, Pinterest and YouTube.  This year, they made use of some innovative new approaches.

Fine Tuning Its Approach to Social Media

Aflac’s disappointing results with its September charitable campaign, called Swim With Friends, prompted them to analyze why they fell short of their goal of raising $500,000. Executives decided to make several changes in their social media approach to promote the holiday ducks sales.

To personalize the campaign, Monica Sandoval, a 17-year-old cancer patient from Winder, Ga., was chosen to design the 2012 duck and serve as the centerpiece of the social media initiative. Her photo was posted to the Facebook fan page and she participated in a one-day Twitter party, during which time Aflac donated $2 for each comment with the hashtag “#AflacKids.”

Another change was the addition of mom bloggers to generate attention.

Another innovation in the use of Twitter derives from Aflac’s Swim With Kids initiative. During that campaign, Aflac executives found that it was more effective when comments posted to the Twitter feed were kept to just 120 characters, rather than the  140-character Twitter maximum. This allowed for people to re-Tweet without going over the maximum.

Aflac has set a goal of $1.5 million for the 2012 holiday duck. Last year, the goal was $1 million, and the total raised was slightly more than that. I’m anxious to report back to you on this year’s campaign results.

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