Aflac, a leading provider of supplemental insurance products in the U.S., is preparing for The Big Dance® with a bracket-busting campaign to connect with over 150 million passionate basketball fans who are missing the traditional March Madness experience. Developed in partnership with DDB New York, the campaign, which marks Aflac’s first season as an Official Corporate Partner of the NCAA®, starts with a full-court press on Selection Sunday® and continues throughout the tournament.
“Just like Aflac’s products and services help policyholders when they need it most, we want to be there for these super fans in a lighthearted and memorable way, while demonstrating how Aflac helps cover them on and off the court,” said Teresa White, president of Aflac U.S.
“Top-tier sports is an advertising island in the flooded plain of video streaming, which is a key strategic reason why we are all-in with the NCAA and March Madness,” said Shannon Watkins, senior vice president of Brand and Creative Services at Aflac. “As the advertising landscape continues to change, premier live sporting events continue to provide a direct connection, placing Aflac in the living rooms of engaged sports fans to communicate how our products and services can help them avoid the pain of a financial upset.”
The cornerstone of the campaign is the Post-Pain Show, a faux sports news program featuring commentary from actor Rob Riggle, comedian Lil Rel Howery and the Aflac Duck. Since college basketball is a passion point for many consumers, together they will bring laughter to help soothe fans’ pain at a time when many may not be able to enjoy the tournament in person with friends.
During Selection Sunday March 14, Aflac will launch the first of two spots from the Post-Pain Show, “Brace Yourself,” on CBS. In addition to humorous hot takes, game replays and interviews, the trio will remind viewers that Aflac is here to help with expenses health insurance doesn’t cover.
“People know Aflac, but they don’t always know how we can help protect them and their families,” said Valencia Mitchell, Aflac vice president of Brand Strategy, Insights and Advertising. “We want consumers to know that Aflac feels their pain and is there to help with ‘the pain after the pain’ ̶̶ the expenses health insurance doesn’t cover ̶ as well as provide a little laughter, which can be good medicine.”
The campaign will be supported on Aflac’s social media platforms. Posts will offer real-time reactions and “pain recovery” support to fans who suffer March Madness losses. Aflac will also place digital banners on partner websites featuring “announcerisms,” or basketball one-liners in the Post-Pain Show format. “Half Court Hurt,” the second episode of the Post-Pain Show, will air during the First Four® on CBS March 18.
“College basketball fans are engaged and ready to enjoy March Madness,” said Ellen Lucey, NCAA director of championships engagement. “Aflac will provide another way for fans to engage with the tournament and enjoy the excitement in a new way.”
Devron Edwards, vice president of NCAA Partnerships at CBS Sports, said, “Aflac is one of the most recognized brands in the industry, and we are excited to add them as the newest Official Corporate Partner for NCAA championships.” Chip Johnson, vice president of Partnership Strategy for College Sports at Turner Sports, added that “March Madness is a can’t-miss cultural event every year, one that provides opportunities for Official Corporate Partners to create out-of-the-box, fan-driven activations. We look forward to supporting Aflac’s efforts to delivering those experiences within the tournament for years to come.”