How a robotic duck calms young cancer patients and boosts Aflac’s brand

Sometimes recovery takes more than medicine. The iconic spokes-duck, crafted into an interactive toy, gives youngsters undergoing treatment a much-needed morale boost.

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Aflac has donated over $135 million to the research and treatment of pediatric cancer, including establishing the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

One thing we know as a result of this longstanding commitment is that it takes more than medicine to help a child with cancer.

The beloved brand and pop culture icon, the Aflac Duck, proved to be a great jumping-off point. With general public awareness reaching more than 90%, coupled with an enviable likeability score, the Aflac Duck was the perfect place to begin.

Isolating and solving for X

Pediatric cancer patients are no different from any other children when it comes to seeking joy, play and a normal routine. As the pace of change, particularly from a technology perspective, is at this very moment slower than it will ever be again, it’s important that any approach be grounded in the 4 E’s, which are environment, experience, engagement and exchange.

We opted to solve for our X by bringing the Aflac Duck to life through robotics in a way that would be most authentic to our employees and, more important, most meaningful to these beautiful and courageous children.

The big idea: My Special Aflac Duck®

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