Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Aflac to Replace Gottfried as Voice of Duck with Ben Affleck, Chris O’Donnell or Mike Farrell

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Supplemental insurance giant Aflac has been meeting with several Hollywood agents to seek out a new actor to replace comedian Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of the Aflac duck. Gottfried provided the shrill, irascible, and unpleasant personality of the mascot for over 11 years. He was fired from his duties after making a series of jokes about the earthquake in Japan. About 75 percent of Aflac’s revenue comes from Japan, where the insurer’s ads feature an actor with a less abrasive voice.

Shaking Things Up
“We’re trying to ride the crest of a new wave and rescue both the duck’s image and our company’s brand,” said corporate spokesperson Allen Irwin. “Gottfried was no longer groundbreaking, and his constant allusions to the earthquakes and tsunamis as something humorous were offensive. When we tried to explain our position, Gottfried turned his apology into a disgusting version of The Aristocrats. It ended with our CEO’s finger in the duck’s anus while a stripper with Down Syndrome smothered his face with a soiled adult diaper. We had no choice but to terminate Mr. Gottfried’s contract.”

But Irwin also explained that a change had been under consideration for quite some time.

“We’ve long believed that being chased by large bird screaming ‘Aflac’ was frightening and overly aggressive,” Irwin continued. “We’re not trying to scare people into buying insurance. Insurance is about peace of mind, not living in fear of the inevitable doom lurking around every corner. So, we’re currently negotiating with actors who are more low key. Bland, catatonic, less imposing. We want an image that projects the message: ‘We’re insurance experts here to protect your family and your assets, not fear-mongering alarmists trying to bilk you out of a dollar with threats of looming disaster and joblessness, which in this economy are terribly real possibilities.’”

Seeking a Gentler, More Banal Persona
The company says that it has narrowed down its finalists to Chris O’Donnell, Mike Farrell, and Ben Affleck.

“Each of these actors,” explained Irwin, “is virtually invisible and bereft of anything you could call a strong personality. Their wooden delivery, made palatable by the cute image of a duck, should come across as more soothing and less confrontational. Also, each of these actors has either appeared in a disaster picture or starred in a picture that became a disaster as a result of their presence. With that in mind, they should be a lot more sympathetic to the plight of investors and policy holders in ravaged countries.”

When asked about a favorite among the bunch, Irwin replied, “We really have our eye on Affleck. His vocabulary is largely limited to recitations of his own name, which is eerily similar to the name of our company. He was also in Pearl Harbor. Not the battle, I mean, but the film. Which was more painful to endure, frankly. He’s a natural fit right now. The Japanese just love him. The people I’ve spoken with over there say that when watching Affleck’s cinematic version of the 1941 attack, they feel he really cheapens the incident to something historically irrelevant and comedic, which helps to heal lingering wounds with the older generations.”
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