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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Ducks and Physical Therapy

Published April 11, 2013 12:43 PM by Lisa Mueller

This week during the show "The Voice" on NBC, Aflac aired a 60-second commercial showing the Aflac duck working with a physical therapist to recover from some injuries. (The injuries were aired in earlier commercials). I think Aflac is marketing services their clients receive while off work due to injury, including money for bills and other needs.

I was floored when I saw the commercial. Unbelievable. First, the fact that the commercial was 60 seconds and not the typical 30 seconds is a substantial amount of time in advertising. Second, it was about physical therapy!!! I can't tell you how many articles I read about athletes and their injuries -- Tiger Woods with his knee, Payton Manning and his neck -- hundreds of athletes and most of those articles never even mention the words "physical therapy."

And here, an insurance company spends 60 whole seconds dedicated almost entirely to physical rehabilitation. Wow. Third, I love the duck. Watching the duck's little feathers stick out of the cable system handles and putting the duck in an aquatic treadmill system was funny. My husband and I live near a pond with tons of ducks and geese are always walking in our yard, so ducks have become a little close to my heart.

I worked in a physical therapy department a few years ago that was part of a bigger healthcare system and our team would occasionally ask the leadership team why physical therapy wasn't included in the marketing efforts of the business. We would see commercials for cardiac care, pregnancy and even stroke care with nothing about rehab (which is somewhat frustrating considering the role PTs have in cardiac and stroke recovery). We weren't really given a good answer, but it felt like the marketing team worked in its own little world and we were a separate entity.

This Aflac commercial is a great step forward for PTs -- it recognizes the value of our profession and skills without focusing on just one company or healthcare system. Props to the advertising and marketing team at Aflac for focusing and aligning its efforts with our profession. Physical therapists thank you!

What do you think? Did you see the commercial? Did you like it? Are you involved with marketing as part of your job responsibilities? How do you successfully market physical therapy?


i always love the Ducks cammorshiol but naw i love it iven more and i hope shi going to be back againe. And the Theraphy it is so fanny made that i go on thi compiuter and see it again and again. My best ricovery to the Duck. I feel like you mai think i am crazi but i am not i just like some  cammerciol. Forgive my english i am 74 and Italian but i look cammerciol wen they are mde well .Bay thank you

Rita June 9, 2013 7:00 PM
Brooklyn NY

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