Nick Saban talks Aflac duck, Deion Sanders ahead of new commercial
There are no cracks or quacks made at Nick Saban’s expense inside Alabama’s football offices, though his niece did reveal Saban’s commercial bona fides when asked by her preschool teacher what sound a duck makes: “Aflac,” she responded.
Saban is the face of college football and once again the face of Aflac’s new advertising campaign, co-starring alongside Colorado coach Deion Sanders in a series of television spots beginning with “Office Takeover,” which will debut during Friday’s Aflac Kickoff Game between Louisville and Georgia Tech.
The commercial features the Aflac Duck going up against his arch nemesis, the Gap Goat, who represents the health expenses that can “arise at the most inconvenient moments,” the company said. The two coaches serve as translators, since the duck and goat have matching one-word vocabularies: “Aflac” and “gap,” respectively.
Unsurprisingly, given his well-covered attention to detail, Saban takes the role of playing himself seriously.
“I want to do a good job. I want (to) project well for Aflac as well as my own personal image,” he said. “I don’t want to be facetious or anything, but I think that’s kind of how I am in everything that I do. It is what it is, I guess.”
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But despite being a ubiqutous TV presence throughout the college football season, Saban has to admit: He doesn’t like to watch himself on TV.
“I have a hard time watching myself in that setting,” Saban said. “I’ll sort of review the commercials when they come out, before they ever get played on TV. ‘I could’ve done this better or that better.’ Or, ‘I don’t look so good with that smirk on my face,’ or whatever.
“I don’t like watching myself on TV. That just doesn’t … I don’t try to watch myself on TV and evaluate what I did.”
His wife, Terry, “does that quite a bit, so I get pretty good feedback,” Saban said.
Sanders and Saban didn’t have a “significant relationship” before teaming up for the campaign, according to Saban, though the two had known each other before Sanders entered college coaching three years ago at Jackson State.
“I have as much respect for him as anyone in our profession,” Saban said of Sanders, who has made national headlines for his extreme overhaul of Colorado’s stagnant program since being hired last December.
The two talked shop while together without discussing any specific related to each program, speaking more in generalities about how to handle certain situations that may unfold in a given season.
“We both share information to try and help each other,” Saban said. “We’re both interested in trying to improve our program, how we sort of motivate players, how we inspire people to do things at a high standard and a high level all the time. So that interaction has been positive for me.”
Despite his relative inexperience as a college head coach, Sanders has the traits needed to be highly successful on the Football Bowl Subdivision level, Saban said.
“It doesn’t matter what level you coach at, I think coaching is coaching. It’s teaching. It’s the ability to inspire learning,” Saban said. “All those things, I think, are important in high school, Jackson State, Colorado, Alabama, it doesn’t matter where you are. The NFL. It’s part of the profession.”