Supplemental insurance provider Aflac Incorporated, winner of the Ethisphere Award for "World's Most Ethical Company" for the fifth year in a row, is currently conducting a massive national talent search to discover the new voice of the hugely popular Aflac Duck. Aflac announced on March 14, 2011 that it has severed ties with comedian Gilbert Gottfried.
Shortly after the March 11, 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Gottfried - a stand-up comedian known for his crude insulting racism filled comedy - tweeted "Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them," and "I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, 'They'll by another one floating by any minute now".
Aflac issued a March 14, 2011 press release announcing, "Gilbert's recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac. Aflac Japan - and, by extension, Japan itself - is part of the Aflac family, and there is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times".
Aflac also announced that the company was donating 100 million yen to the International Red Cross for disaster assistance. It should be noted that Gilbert Gottfried has never been the voice of the Aflac Duck in Japan. About 75 percent of Aflac’s revenue comes from Japan, where the supplemental insurer’s ads feature a less abrasive voice performed by a different actor.
Rather than hire another celebrity voice, Aflac decided to accept submissions from the general public. Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna stated, "There’s a lot of undiscovered talent in the United States. We’re calling it America’s best job". The company isn’t ruling out using a celebrity, as many casting directors have recently found out through these types of open casting calls (which are becoming much more common), that finding inexperienced film and television talent from the general public pool is easier said than done.
Anyone interested in auditioning for the new voice-over role for the famed Aflac Duck is welcome to attend one of the following open casting calls. To make an appointment, please call during normal business hours on Thursday March 31, 2011 or Friday April 1, 2011 (deadline is midnight).
Important: Appointments will be made on a first come first serve basis, so call early and often and if you are fortunate enough to get through, consider yourself lucky!
New York, NY
Beth Melsky Casting
Los Angeles, CA
Kathy Knowles Casting
Las Vegas, NV
Barbara Lauren Casting
702-743-1110 or 702-262-0200
214-220-9991 or 214-704-7774
But if you do not get through on the phone lines, do not fret! You can still upload your Aflac Duck audition on the official talent search website:
Aflac Duck Audition Upload Website
Anyone will be able to submit a 30-second audio or video file belting their best version of the Aflac Duck’s signature “Aflac” squawk. The company wants to hear interpretations of the character that may be different from Gilbert Gottfried’s.
Aflac's longtime advertising agency, The Kaplan Thaler Group, will create the first new TV commercial which will debut on April 22, 2011.