A Fine-Dining Proxy

THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 25, 2002 | Go to article overview

A Fine-Dining Proxy


NEW YORK (NYT) -- "She tasted it by osmosis through her manager." -- Bobby Ochs, managing partner of Britney Spears' new New York restaurant, Nyla, in response to the New York Times asking whether Spears had sampled any of its food.

Credit the duck

COLUMBUS, Ga. (Cox) -- Ask a 5-year-old playing in a park what sound a duck makes, and you're more likely to get "Aflac" than "quack, quack."

Blame it on the duck.

Since waddling its way into what's become one of the most successful U.S. advertising campaigns in recent history, AFLAC -- American Family Life Assurance Co. -- has gone from obscurity to near pop-culture fame.

And that's been a boon to the supplemental insurance company's bottom line.

For years, AFLAC, which sells cancer insurance and other policies that supplement existing insurance coverage, has looked for ways to boost its domestic business. But with the introduction of the duck ads three years ago, the company's U.S. business has soared. Indeed, the duck has catapulted the company's domestic name recognition from barely 2 percent in 1990 to about 60 percent today. Sales of new policies in the United States were $919 million last year, up nearly 130 percent from $401 million in 1997.

Overall revenue last year was $9.5 billion.

At AFLAC's headquarters, almost everything is discussed in terms of B.D. and A.D. -- Before Duck and After Duck. But Wall Street analysts and insurance industry experts say the company's recent successes has as much to do with sound senior management, a keen focus on its core business and expanding a product line without deviating from its core business.

Only 189 days left

NEW YORK (AP) -- Today is the 176th day of 2002. There are 189 days left in the year. Here are some business and legal highlights from this date in history:

In 1788, the state of Virginia ratified the U.S. Constitution.

In 1876, Lt. Col. George A. Custer and his Seventh Cavalry were wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana.

In 1942, some 1,000 British Royal Air Force bombers raided Bremen, Germany, during World War II.

In 1950, war broke out in Korea as forces from the communist North invaded the South.

In 1951, the first commercial color telecast took place as CBS transmitted a one-hour special from New York to four other cities.

In 1962, the Supreme Court ruled that the use of an unofficial, non-denominational prayer in New York State public schools was unconstitutional.

In 1967, the Beatles performed their new song, All You Need Is Love, during a live international telecast.

In 1973, former White House Counsel John W. Dean began testifying before the Senate Watergate Committee.

In 1991, the western Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence.

In 1995, Warren Burger, the 15th chief justice of the United States, died in Washington at age 87.

In 1996, a truck bomb killed 19 Americans and injured hundreds at a U.S. military housing complex in Saudi Arabia.

Debating a legend

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Legend has it that 250 years ago this month, Benjamin Franklin sailed a kite and a key into a stormy Philadelphia sky and made a shocking discovery: Lightning was a form of electricity.

His test sparked criticism from clergy who feared he was challenging God and earned him acclaim in America and Europe as one of the greatest minds of his era. It continues to generate debate among some historians who say Franklin might not have even conducted the experiment taught to generations of schoolchildren.

"When I teach Franklin, I always try to plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of my students" about the kite-and-key experiment, said Richard Rosen, science historian and dean of Drexel University's College of Arts and Sciences. …

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