Aflac has supported childhood cancer research and treatment as one of its primary philanthropic efforts, donating more than $131 million since 1995. Recent efforts have resulted in Aflac winning first place in the “Use of Facebook” category of PR Daily’s 2019 Digital Marketing & Social Media Awards.
For 2018, the company was prepared to continue building awareness of the Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign through Facebook, but faced an unexpected obstacle: Mark Zuckerberg announced algorithm changes that prioritized community-centric content, driving down the visibility of companies and leading to decreased engagement with brand posts, including Aflac’s.
The company obtained a budget to work through Facebook’s changes. The team facilitated conversations about childhood cancer with a national audience, raised awareness of the company’s “My Special Aflac Duck” (a stuffed animal that provides comforting and entertaining experiences for kids undergoing cancer treatment), grew Facebook likes, earned third-party recognition for the company’s CSR efforts and strengthened the company’s reputation.
The team drove conversations by asking compelling questions and issuing calls to action designed to fuel meaningful conversations and emotional reactions. They replied to comments and reactions and shared relevant images and videos of events, and boosted posts that targeted the pediatric cancer community. They also focused on national partnerships, events and company initiatives.
The campaign achieved stellar results, including 2 billion media impressions the week of the Consumer Electronics Show, where the My Special Aflac Duck was introduced (and named one of Time magazine’s 50 Best Innovations of 2018). As for Facebook, page likes grew 11.6%, exceeding targets; engagement was also high.
Congratulations to Catherine Hernandez-Blades, Jon Sullivan, Kristen Fraser, Chris Ehrhart and Darcy Brito.