Nationwide Insurance took their Super Bowl advertising opportunity to remind Americans that the home is a glorified execution chamber for children. The ad, which went out during the Patriots’ Super Bowl win, showed a boy telling the world about all of the things he missed out on because he died in a preventable household accident. Backlash to the strangely dark commercial has been widespread and brutal.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nationwide Reminds Us, ‘The Number 1 Cause of Childhood Deaths Is Preventable Accidents’
The harrowing commercial showed the boy telling America: “I’ll never learn to ride a bike or get cooties. I’ll never learn to fly or travel the world with my best friend. And I won’t ever get married.” The ad ends with the lad saying “I couldn’t grow up. Because I died from an accident.” The camera then pans through a normal house showing an overflowing bath and other areas where a child could die in a home. The words across the screen read, “The number one cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents.”
2. Nationwide Got Skewered on Twitter
Comedians and the general public were on Twitter within seconds after the commercial aired. Writer Rob Fee tweeted, “Hope you guys are having a great day. Did you know your kid is probably gonna die soon? Enjoy your nachos & funeral planning!” Later he followed that up with: “When your team is winning, but you can’t stop thinking about the dead kid in that Nationwide commercial.”
Here are some of the best responses:
3. Nationwide Maintains the Ad Isn’t Designed to Sell Insurance
The company responded to the criticism with an official statement on February 2. The company said: “Nationwide ran ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation. The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance…We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to being a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere.” If that’s true, then why did the company feel the need to include their logo in the commercial.
4. It Was the Most Talked About Ad on Social Media During the Super Bowl
According to Ad Week, Nationwide had the distinction of having far and away the most mentions on social media of any advertiser. The total mentions was around 250,000; 64 percent of those comments were negative with just 12 per
cent being positive.
5. The Best Super Bowl Ad Prize Went to Budweiser, According to USA Today
The best ad of the Super Bowl, according to USA Today’s Ad Meter, was Budweiser’s lost puppy commercial. The paper goes on to report that 30 seconds of air time were going for $4.5 million. The second best commercial was apparently Always’ gender-stereotype-blasting “Like a Girl” ad.