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Legendary coach Nick Saban teams with the Aflac duck for new ad campaign

Reggie Wade
Writer
Traders watch as the Aflac duck walks on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Six-time national champion college football coach Nick Saban knows all too well that recruiting can be a painstaking task that requires commitment, boldness, and a fair amount of charm. The University of Alabama coach has signed 12 recruiting classes for the Crimson Tide, seven of which have ranked No. 1 in the country .

Now Saban’s helping Alfac ( AFL ) “grow its team” as the co-face of the insurance company, along with the iconic “Aflac”-quacking duck.

In a series of ads debuting Saturday, Aug. 24 (the day college football season kicks off) on ESPN, Saban pitches the Aflac “program” because its supplemental insurance pays the expenses health insurance may not cover. “Deductible, knee brace, whatever,” Saban says as he flashes the five championship rings he’s won with the Crimson Tide. Ads will air throughout the season, following Saban (and the duck) on the recruiting process, including school visits and signing day.

Dec 1, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban with the trophy after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

"Aflac wanted to find and partner with the best recruiter of all time. And it naturally led us to Saban. When we think about Coach Saban and his role in this campaign, he is really along the journey with the Aflac duck by his side to recruit five-star recruits,” Shannon Watkins, vice president of brand and creative services at Aflac, told Yahoo Finance.

“Fifty percent of Americans don't have the savings to handle an unexpected expense of about $1,000 or more, and people are filing for bankruptcy more and more often because of medical debt,” Watkins said. “We want to really tell people that … when you get hit with an out-of-pocket cost from a health event, Aflac has your back."

Yet there is one aspect of the new partnership that might ruffle some feathers—that Georgia-based Aflac is partnering with the coach from rival state Alabama ( The Crimson is currently ranked No. 2: the Bulldogs, No. 3 ). But Watkins assures Yahoo Finance that the partnership transcends sports allegiances.

"We know that Saban is an Alabama football coach — but that is not the role that Aflac sees him playing for us … We have him out there as the best recruiter of all time."

University of Georgia had no comment on the partnership, but the duck weighed in: “AFLAC!”

Nick Saban and Aflac Duck Promo picture — AFLAC

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade .

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