And the Oscar goes to...the AFLAC duck?

Well, the nominations are in and already the Oscar buzz is beginning. And I'm not talking about the movies. I'm talking about the brands in the movies. Think it's a joke? Give it a few years. The way Hollywood and advertising is going, it's only a matter of time.

AFLAC The familiar duck that promotes the supplemental health insurance sold by Aflac made its film debut in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," appearing briefly in a scene playing, well, itself. In the scene, the duck, inside a boat during a storm, is squarely in the path of an unfortunate event involving a flaming stove.

"We were as concerned as Paramount was that if we would do it, it would not be commercial and compromise the film," said Laura Kane, second vice president at Aflac in Columbus, Ga., referring to the Paramount Pictures division of Viacom, which released the movie.

Initially, Ms. Kane said, the script "started with the duck saying the entire word 'Aflac,' " as it does in the series of spots created by the Aflac agency, the Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, part of the Publicis Groupe. "But we thought that was too commercial," she added, "so it just blurts, 'Aaaaaaaaaaa!' "

Related article starring the Aflac duck Product placement invades kids films, and blogs
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