In light of the Gilbert Gottfried fiasco from earlier this week, I thought it might be interesting to look at the icons behind the brands. Whenever you have a human element, "things" beyond your control can happen. Gottfried showed incredibly poor judgment with his tweets criticizing the disaster in Japan. And now Aflak has to do damage control.
However their brand is only partially obstructed. The visual is still the duck, and the use of the vocalized "aflack" is still permissible. Given they released Gottfried so quickly they minimized brand damage.
Note, their commitment to the duck has become fairly minimal in recent years.
Progressive Insurance, however has more at stake. By committing completely to the character "Flo", played by actress Stephanie Courtney, they have put their brand more on the line. If Stephanie decided to pull a similar twitter stunt, or had skeletons in her closet, Progressive would suffer a much more significant brand interruption.
You can be sure Progressive had their best people investigating Stephanie, before signing her to the role.
Here is some of what they may have discovered.
Her Independent Movie Data Base profile. Stephanie Courtney It reveals a storied background with respected LA improv group the Groundlings.
And a more recent search may have revealed this online comedy piece.
Here's the latest Flo commercial.
Following on with the theme, Geico insurance took a safer route with a digitally animated character. However they haven't been without incident on their voice.
Note this article referencing the revolving voices around the character and the tag announcer.
Tag announcer Lance Baxter had some pretty extreme right wing politics which were in conflict with the more neutral stance of Geico. Needless to say he has been replaced.
Geico is a shrewd marketer, however, and realized some time ago, that a "dual brand" is not only a safer bet against incidents such as this, but also a more entertaining route for viewers.
Here's a "non geico" generic branded spot.
As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. Have a great weekend.