Not long after insurance provider Aflac got some less-than-desirable press for firing Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the company’s popular duck mascot, over some jokes about the Japan earthquake, the company quickly turned things around with a nationwide search for a new voice.
Hugh Braithwaite, founder and president of Braithwaite Communications, called that turnaround “PR genius” in a blog post. Now the nation’s largest provider of supplemental insurance has to pick someone from the nearly 12,000 entries it’s received. Aflac plans to choose its new duck voice by the end of April.
“The gist of what we’re looking for is someone with a memorable voice who can make people laugh and is going to be a good representative of our brand,” says Laura Kane, vice president of external relations for Aflac.
What makes a good representative? “A lot of what we’re looking for is trust, integrity, ethics, caring, compassion,” she says.
The way Aflac handles giving the duck its new voice will have a big effect on how the company is perceived, Braithwaite and other observers say.