By the way, I’m available for that Aflac gig

Don’t think it would have occurred to me to wonder about this at any point in my newspaper life, but now that I’m into the whole marketing/PR/Mad Man thing now, I find myself wondering about stuff like this…

So I hear that Aflac has fired Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of their duck. You know, the one that says “Aflac!” Here’s something about it, although you’ve probably already heard:

He’ll quack for Aflac no more.

Insurance giant Aflac axed comic Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of its iconic duck yesterday after he posted jokes on Twitter about the quake and tsunami in Japan.

“I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, ‘They’ll be another one floating by any minute now,’ ” was among the dozen tweets Gottfried fired off over the weekend….

I first heard about it at breakfast this morning, and didn’t think anything of it (no skin off my beak), then heard it again at ADCO later, and at that point thought, “Wait a minute…”

Why, I wonder, did they turn to Gilbert Gottfried to do the Aflac duck to begin with? I mean, he’s moderately famous, although irritating, and you pay a premium for that. Agents to feed and all. What was the value they got from that?

Because, while I was well aware of the ad campaign — it’s memorable, and sort of clever in an absurd way — I never knew that that was Gilbert Gottfried doing it. Sure, when you hear it, it sounds like Gilbert Gottfried… but it sounds like Gilbert Gottfried when I say “Aflac!” in a nasal quack, too. (Brian from ADCO agreed when he heard me do it at lunch today. I don’t just say these things, people; I check to confirm first. Back off; I’m a professional.)

It really doesn’t take any special talent. And unless they were getting a bounce from people knowing it was Gottfried, why pay him to do it?

So… here’s what I’m thinking. If Aflac is hard up, I’ll do the duck voice for them from now on. I might even do it at a discount from what they were paying Gottfried. And I won’t make horrible jokes about the poor Japanese, or any other suffering people.

I can use the phone to get that new iPhone or HTC Thunderbolt (which I think is coming out Thursday!) or whatever I get to replace my moribund Blackberry, which is definitely on its last legs. So this couldn’t have happened at a better time.

I hope I’m making this offer in time, before they line up someone else… You gotta move fast these days…

11 thoughts on “By the way, I’m available for that Aflac gig

  1. bud

    Just a bit curious Brad. With all the seismic (literally) events occuring throughout the world you seem to be focusing a great deal of blog time to rather trivial stories. Is there some reason for this?

  2. Brad

    What? This IS about the seismic events.

    What do you want me to say? That it’s terrible?

    I’ve been meaning to do something on the implications for future nuclear plants, and might before the day is out (I’m really backed up, and when I’m backed up, you see me quick-and-dirties like this post), but I haven’t been in a hurry. After all, there’s plenty of time to watch this and think about the implications. With or without this, new nuclear plants are years and years away here. Short take on it is that this will probably slow things down some more…

  3. Steven Davis

    I’m curious as to what Brad can blog about in regard to Japan that already hasn’t been said a thousand times.

    Boo Hoo… but I bet they’ll have that country back up and running better than it was before the earthquake, and before we get through with the Katrina mess… which has been going on for what, 6 years ago. What will this area of Japan look like in 6 years, probably like nothing ever happened.

  4. Brad

    Something I don’t do all that well is “resonate” to big news. Never have. I used to try to have somebody on staff at The State who could do that when it was called for. As a blogger, if there’s nothing to SAY about it (in terms of a political decision to be made, the kinds of things we have to decide as citizens and voters and participants in the public forum), or nothing I personally want to say about it, I just throw up a post and invite others to say something. Which is what I did the morning of the earthquake.

    And of course, it’s been topping my own Virtual Front Pages, along with other HUGE world news. Makes it kind of hard to find time to care about, say, the SC budget “debate,” if you want to call it that. (There’s no DEBATE, right? They aren’t going to raise taxes, so it’s really all about what they’re going to cut, and they will quibble and quibble about that in trivial ways until the last possible moment. It’s what they do.)

    So I find myself being ignored by aggregators like Wesley, Political Net News didn’t have a link to me at all today (not the first day, either). Because when SC political news is boring, I find it hard to get into writing about it. Especially when I’m busy earning a living.

    But as for the “seismic” world news (Qaddafi’s gotta be loving this — he’s pounding hell out of the rebels, and the world isn’t paying attention), I keep taking note of it.

    Back to the resonating thing. As I said, not my strength. There are powerful EMOTIONS to be reflected in the face of something like the Japan quake. And I just don’t ever feel comfortable with that. Not my forte. Or I don’t feel the right ones. Or rather, it just seems to me that the kinds of trite expressions of “oh, my!” that come naturally to some TV-type journalists is really phony and inadequate in the face of tragedy on an epic scale.

    Somehow, a blog seems an inadequate vessel for such expressions.

    Or maybe it’s just me…

  5. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    “Gottfried” mit zwei “t”

    Your quoted text got it right.

    The State seems to have laid off all its copy editors, but I expect better from you! [Hint to writers: the only time there’s likely to be a “central tenant” is in commercial real estate. “tenet,” people!]

    Is that trivial enough?

  6. Lynn

    Now that AFLAC is a valued member of the Columbia Biz Community, I think it is your civic duty to offer them an Welcome to Columbia in duck speak.
    Think of the fun we could have if AFLAC would run a national You-Tube/American Idol audition for the new duck voice over artist, they do it for team mascots, why not the AFLAC duck?
    PS Brad, tell them you can twirl a baton too while clogging. Miss SC would be proud.

  7. Anne

    Go for it Brad! Replace the non-thinking, insensitive voice! I am shocked he would say something like that. Go Aflac for quickly responding and firing him!

  8. Mark Stewart

    AFLAC hired him and fired him for being himself.

    Funny or not, it seems to me that the value of comedians is that they give voice to things that are otherwise uncomfortable to think about. Whether he missed the mark or not – and quacking in the moment is never the right time – it’s not the same as a politician, actor, athlete, or anyone else popping off with misplaced, offensive commentary.

    One doesn’t have to like it, and AFLAC certainly did not have to accept the reflection; but I find it a little odd that we are stunned that a comedian would try to make light of a horrendous situation that is beyond human control/comprehension. That’s what they do.

  9. Doug Ross

    Guess who showed up on the Comedy Central roast of Donald Trump tonight? Gilbert Gottfried.

    His first joke: Donald Trump has done so much damage to the New York skyline, they should call him the 20th hijacker.

    That’s who he is.


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