5 Most Ill-Fated Corporate Thanksgiving Parade Balloons
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried had provided the duck's voice for 11 years but, last March, decided to make some jokes about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Gottfried's a button-pusher and Aflac had to see this coming, right? Nope. Gottfried was scolded by the marketing department and summarily canned. A week later, the company began an Internet search for its new duck voice. It took more than a month to track down somebody else, and the 36-year-old ad sales manager from Minnesota filling the duck's webbed feet didn't quite have Gottfried's trademark vocals or celebrity cachet. The first new commercial aired in May, but a beleaguered public seemed indifferent.
By the time the duck hit the streets of New York in November, the voice controversy had died down a bit but was still awkward for the NBC announcer team and everyone involved. It may have sparked a few Thanksgiving morning conversations, but probably fewer pertaining to insurance than Aflac would have liked.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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