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Gilbert Gottfried, AFLAC Duck Gets Plucked
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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You would think with the power and immediate access social media provides, fat-fingered dolts would realize maybe a global tragedy is not the best time to break out a new joke series. And then there's Gilbert Gottfried.

According to...well, just about any publication on the planet...Gottfried thought the horrific tsunami in Japan was cause for jocularity, so he tweeted:

"I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, 'They'll be another one floating by any minute now.'"

If I had a rim shot, I would save the rim and do something with the other part.

Hey, Iago the Parrot, are you serious?! 10,000 are confirmed dead. 90,000 are feared missing. Hundreds are washing upon the shore daily. And now is when you think would be a good time to crack a joke?!

Well, despite the noted brand, despite the monster advertising, Aflac decided to cook this duck in some creamy orange sauce.

"Gilbert's recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac," Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna said in a statement. "There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times."

You know, if I needed any supplemental life insurance, I'd call them up. Wouldn't you after this? What could have been a terrible PR incident for the brand became a slap in the beak for Gottfried. Zuna put out a national release faster than Gottfried could tweet another immensely offensive tweet. Also included in the press release was the following:

Aflac — who noted that it has donated 100 million yen to the Red Cross following the disaster — also announced it would be conducting a nationwide casting call to find the next voice for the Aflac duck.

Kids, there are ways to handle a crisis. And there are ways not to handle a crisis. What Aflac did should be a case study. Bravo!


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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