The Creative Mind Behind Aflac Football Commercials

Jan 24, 2023

Each year, football fans of any school can look forward to the Aflac commercials featuring Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and other notable characters. During seasons riddled with stressful games, fans can find a little comedic relief from these ads, thanks to the creative work of C&IS alumna Melanie Groover Malone, associate creative director at Dagger, a creative agency in Atlanta, Georgia.

At Dagger, Malone works with clients such as Allē, Krystal, Buffalo Wild Wings, The American Cancer Society, SpoonfulOne, The Home Depot and Aflac.

Malone said she loves that her job gives her the opportunity to make beautiful things and share stories about the results of her work. As a proud Alabama football fan, she was especially proud to share the work she did in creating the Aflac football commercials with Coach Saban.

“The thing I enjoy most about my job is getting to make beautiful things I see out in the world as well as the fun I get to have,” Malone said. “I was recently at a particular game in Knoxville where a fan in orange asked me ‘What did you do with that degree from Bama exactly?’ and I got to smile at him and say ‘Oh I make the commercials for Aflac.’ Not to say that bragging rights are the reason I’m in this, but in that particular situation, I enjoyed it immensely.”

C&IS offers a variety of opportunities and majors and students can explore several career paths before honing in on their specific interests. However, some students, like Malone, know exactly what they want to do before they even step foot on a college campus. Choosing a university is mainly a matter of finding the best program.

“I was one of the rare individuals who knew what major they wanted going into school,” Malone said. “So, when I went to Alabama, I was aware of the national reputation of C&IS. Admittedly, I’ve been an Alabama fan my whole life, so while that initially drove me to T-Town, enrolling in a top advertising and public relations school in the nation was equally as intriguing.”

Malone believes graduating from C&IS gave her an advantage when looking for jobs after graduating, and remembers Professor Mike Little, a senior instructor in the department of advertising and public relations, as one of her most influential mentors.

“I distinctly remember my social media classes and the labs that taught me the powerhouse Adobe programs,” Malone said. “I knew I wanted to be a creative in the industry thanks to a life changing lesson from Professor Little, but having those foundational skills in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign actually gave me a huge leg up.”

In her career today, Malone says her best advice is to persist through the feelings of imposter syndrome or inadequacy. Even the most successful creative minds face these feelings, and Malone believes the best way to deal with it is to keep persisting and remember everyone may feel the same way from time to time.

“I think one of the most challenging aspects of most careers that people don’t talk about enough is imposter syndrome,” Malone said. “No matter how great you are, or how long you’ve worked in the industry, imposter syndrome will always sneak up on you when you least expect it. My advice is always to know that there is a light at the end.”

Her optimism and confidence have positioned her for success in the creative advertising industry, especially as she creates some of the most prized commercials for Alabama fans to watch during football season.

To check out more of Malone’s work or connect with her, view her portfolio at https://melaniegmalone.com/.