Move aside Jeffrey Katzenberg, Lorne Michaels, Arianna Huffington and Shonda Rhimes. Your speaker dais at France will be shared with something else this year at the annual Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in France this year.
This time around, one of the speakers will be a duck. An animatronic duck.
Columbus, Georgia-based Aflac announced that My Special Aflac Duck, an innovative robotic version of the well-known U.S. insurance company’s famous mascot duck that helps children cope with cancer, has a spot in the health care track.
My Special Aflac Duck was developed with the input of children, their families, medical professionals and child life specialists. Featuring naturalistic movements and joyful play, the animatronic duck helps soothe and distract children while receiving cancer treatments.
It was unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, where it won the prestigious Tech for a Better World Innovation Award. It later was named the People’s Choice Award winner at SXSW, and TIME Magazine named it one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2018. Aflac is aiming to distribute 10,000 ducks this year, free of charge, to children with cancer via children’s hospitals throughout the U.S.
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My Special Aflac Duck, dubbed the chief comfort officer, is booked for the Cannes panel “The Intersection of Purpose, Brand, Technology: Finding a Mascot’s Purpose” on the “Healthcare and Insights” stage Tuesday, June 18, along with Aflac Senior Vice President, Chief ESG and Communications Officer Catherine Hernandez-Blades and the duck’s inventor, Sproutel CEO Aaron Horowitz. Carol Cone ON PURPOSE Founder Carol Cone will moderate the discussion.
“I speak for Aaron, Carol and myself when I say that we delight in being upstaged by a social robot, who helps children with cancer, and we welcome the opportunity,” Hernandez-Blades said. “We expect the sophisticated My Special Aflac Duck to intrigue and touch the audience in unprecedented ways, while capturing their hearts.”
My Special Aflac Duck has been entered in several categories for a Cannes Lion, including Technology, Health and Wellness, Creative Strategy and Public Relations. Health care professionals who treat children with cancer and would like to register to order My Special Aflac Ducks click here.
All ducks are delivered to hospitals, completely free of charge and available to any child in the United States, age 3 and older, diagnosed with cancer. To date, more than 4,300 ducks have been delivered to children in more than 200 facilities in 47 states in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.