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Aflac and Macy's promote holiday campaign with social media and messaging app

Aflac is teaming up with Macy?s for a holiday charity campaign that makes use of social media and branded mobile messaging services to raise awareness for childhood cancer.

The partnership, which the two companies formed to sell plush dolls modeled after the Aflac Duck, will be promoted through social media and a new app called Duckchat. The app provides branded emojis and a custom keyboard users can use to send messages to friends.

"The Aflac family of employees and our independent sales force is ?all in? for the fight against pediatric cancer and blood disorders," said Aflac Foundation president Kathelen Amos. "To date we have raised over $110 million toward this cause.  

?We are pleased to again partner with Macy's for our beloved Aflac duck to bring holiday cheer while raising awareness and furthering this important cause."

For 16 years Aflac has partnered with Macy?s for its Holiday Duck campaign that sells collectible plush dolls shaped like the Aflac Duck with all proceeds going to charity to help fight childhood cancer.

This year, the two are using an extra mobile push to make sure the campaign is a success.

First, Aflac will be promoting the campaign on social media, through all of its social channels. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram where the campaign will be promoted through a sponsored hashtag, #duckprints, which is also the name of Aflac?s larger campaign to raise money for childhood cancer.

Aflac is taking a unique approach to social marketing by offering to donate two dollars to charity for every social activity posted with the hashtag. This includes any statuses, tweets or photos that use the hashtag or any Aflac YouTube video viewed, capping at $1.5 million.

Secondly, the brand is leveraging the growing popularity of messaging services, helped along by Apple?s reworking of its popular Messages service, by offering a new app called Duckchat that offers users branded emojis and keyboards related to Aflac that can be easily shared with friends through a messaging platform.

An additional two dollars will be donated to charity for every download of the Duckchat app.

Aflac worked closely with a company called PixFusion to create the app which offers gifs and images branded by Aflac for ease of sharing with friends.

Messaging OS
Branded emojis and other messaging-based services have been steadily growing in popularity in recent months ? especially among younger users, among whom messaging platforms such as Kik and Whatsapp are one of the most popular mobile channels.

Messaging is growing so popular, that some in the marketing world, such as Snaps, have predicted that it will become the primary mode of interaction between brands and consumers, especially as users become less and less likely to download an additional mobile app when they could receive the same service from a messaging platform that they already have (see story). 

Brands such as Aflac are making use of that growing popularity to put their message in front of consumers where they are now, which is increasingly on messaging platforms.

"The Aflac Duck has been a favorite holiday gift for more than 15 years," said Amy Kule, group vice president of Macy's Parade and Entertainment Group. "The strong partnership between Macy's and Aflac has raised awareness and valuable funds to help in the fight against childhood cancer with the sale of this iconic mascot.?