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Aflac Duck’s new voice from Minn. sales manager
Gottfried voiced Aflac’s duck for U.S. audiences for 11 years but was ousted in March after making insensitive remarks on Twitter about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which produces about 75 percent of Aflac’s revenue. Aflac soon announced a contest for Gottfried’s replacement, though the actor who has long offered a gentler interpretation of the duck for Japanese audiences will continue.
After learning early Tuesday that he was selected for the gig, McKeague said he’s known for doing silly voices.
“Whenever that ad would come on I would imitate the duck and the kids loved it,” said McKeague, whose children are 5, 8 and 11.
Aflac Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna says the company and its longtime advertising agency, The Kaplan Thaler Group, first winnowed the contestants to a short list of about 50, which they cut to 8 and finally to 3 _ none of them celebrities. Contestants had to be able to convey a range of emotion within the single word “Aflac” and submit to an extensive background check.
Executives listened to the three finalists and chose McKeague for his range and his ability to embody the duck.
He gets a one-year contract in the low six figures that the company said will likely be renewed for several years.
The first ad with McKeague’s voice airs Tuesday evening during the new show “The Voice” on NBC.
“I understand what’s at stake, it is not just getting behind a microphone and screaming ‘Aflac.’ If you’re a spokesperson you have responsibilities.”
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