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Gilbert Gottfried: The Man Behind the Aflac Duck's Voice

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Explore the career of Gilbert Gottfried, the voice behind the Aflac duck, who provided his iconic quack for more than ten years.

description: an image showing a cartoonish duck with its beak open, seemingly quacking. the duck is wearing a blue hat with the aflac logo.

CHICAGO: When Aflac chairman and CEO Dan Amos initially told people that a duck who quacks “Aflac” was going to be the insurance company's new spokesperson, many were skeptical. However, little did they know that this decision would lead to the creation of one of the most iconic brand mascots in history. We round-up 10 of the most recognizable brand mascots that have successfully appealed to their target audiences while building trust and loyalty, and the Aflac duck definitely makes the list.

US actor and stand-up comedian Gilbert Gottfried died on April 12 at the age of 67 from a rare genetic muscle disease, his family has announced. However, Gottfried will always be remembered as the voice behind the beloved Aflac duck. For over a decade, his distinctive and nasally voice brought the quacking duck to life in numerous commercials, capturing the attention of viewers and solidifying the brand's image in the minds of consumers.

However, the Aflac duck lost its voice Monday after the insurance giant fired Gilbert Gottfried for tweeting jokes about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. The insensitive remarks led to an immediate backlash, causing Aflac to sever ties with the comedian. They deemed his comments inappropriate and disrespectful, especially considering the tragedy that had unfolded in Japan at the time.

The firing of Gilbert Gottfried did not come without consequences for Aflac. The company faced backlash for not taking action sooner and for allowing someone with a history of controversial jokes to represent their brand. Nonetheless, the decision to replace Gottfried as the voice of the Aflac duck was made in an effort to distance the company from any association with insensitivity.

Gilbert Gottfried's portrayal of the Aflac duck had a significant impact on the insurance company's success. The duck became a billionaire icon for Aflac, effectively embedding itself in the company's branding and marketing efforts. The voice provided by Gottfried added a unique and memorable element to the brand, helping it stand out in a crowded industry.

Gottfried's career as a comedian and voice actor extended beyond his work with Aflac. He was known for his distinctive voice and had lent his talents to other memorable characters, such as the parrot in Disney's "Aladdin." His stand-up comedy career began at a young age and led him to various opportunities, including doing promos for a new television network and eventually becoming the voice of the Aflac duck.

While Gilbert Gottfried's firing from the role of the Aflac duck was a significant turning point in his career, he continued to perform stand-up comedy and voice acting. His legacy as a comedian and entertainer remains, despite the controversy surrounding his departure from the insurance company.

In conclusion, Gilbert Gottfried's portrayal of the Aflac duck's voice for over ten years left a lasting impact on the brand and its marketing efforts. While his firing due to insensitive remarks about Japan's tragedy tarnished his reputation, his contributions to the Aflac duck's success cannot be denied. As the voice behind one of the most recognizable brand mascots, Gilbert Gottfried will always be remembered as a key figure in the history of Aflac.

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