By Stephanie Ciccarelli
April 27, 2011
There's a new voice quacking up a storm as the Aflac Duck!
After a month of searching that yielded 12,500 live and online auditions, Aflac has found their new voice and chosen a Minnesota-based, married father of three to replace comedian Gilbert Gottfried.
How did this all transpire?
Hear more about how Dan McKeague got the gig in today's VOX Daily!
If you've been following the Aflac voiceover saga, you know that it all started when some offensive comments on Twitter were made by former Aflac Duck voice, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, concerning the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011.
Aflac does a significant amount of their business in Japan and the insurance company decided that dismissing Gottfried in response to his insensitive remarks was necessary as it would appear out of respect for their Japanese customers.
Once Gottfried had lost his gig as the duck, a month long search got under way to find a replacement with the winner being announced on Tuesday April 26th, 2011. With over 12,000 auditions, some of which were submitted by voice over talent listed at Voices.com, Aflac had quite the task ahead of them. The winning candidate is Dan McKeague, a sales manager for radio stations KQRS and Love 105 in Minneapolis who also has local voice over experience.
Here's a video featuring an interview with Dan McKeague that aired recently on Fox:
The brass at Aflac chose McKeague from a select pool of voice talent who had made it to the finals so to speak.
"We were tremendously impressed with the wealth of talent who applied for this job. Dan impressed us with his vocal range and acting ability," Michael Zuna, Aflac senior vice president and chief marketing officer said.
According to sources, McKeague earned $100,000 upfront for the work and stands to enjoy substantial royalties each year. McKeague won't be giving up his day job however.
In addition to his work at the radio station, McKeague also helps run a local charity that provides safe havens for kids from broken homes, reports NYPost.com.
"I have long admired people who can act and make the most of their voice," McKeague said. "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."
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Aflac Duck has helped increase the company's brand recognition from slightly more than 10 percent to an amazing 93 percent since the duck's initial broadcast debut in 2000.
As I mentioned earlier, a significant percentage of Aflac's business comes from customers in Japan. A few sources I checked suggest that the percentage is roughly 75 percent so you can imagine how that fact made the need to find a new quacker-in-residence even more dire.
The duck also is a recognizable icon in terms of the company's philanthropic endeavours.
Needless to say the Aflac duck is a huge asset for Aflac, and as it would seem, a great boon to McKeague and his family.
Aflac is certainly not the first company to hold public auditions to find someone to record for their company. In recent months, TomTom also held open auditions to find a new voice for their satellite navigation systems and rewarded the winning talent with a car.
What do you think of these public casting calls?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Looking forward to your reply,
Image of Dan McKeague via People.com
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