Has Nationwide Insurance Lost Their Cottonpickin’ Mind?


Has Nationwide Insurance Lost Their Cottonpickin’ Mind? Were you ready for that Nationwide Insurance Super Bowl ad depicting a young boy who didn’t get to enjoy his later life because he died in an accident?

I thought the Super Bowl was a festive occasion with a football game occurring in the middle of the festivities. Then you have this downer. No doubt this ad has its place, but here?

According to figures I’ve seen, a thirty-second Super Bowl ad to air cost $4.5 million. The ad is now on YouTube, and runs forty-seven seconds, so I’m not sure what it cost to air. Maybe they sliced it into a thirty-second spot. Maybe a sixty-second spot cost $9 million, and they split the difference. Placement of the ad in a specific time in the game may have contributed to an adjustment of the cost up or down.

Who made the decision at Nationwide to run this ad? Who okayed it in the first place to run? Most large companies have a Pres and a Board of Directors. Did they all sit around the table, watch the ad, and say, “Gee, we’ve watched the other ads that will run in the Super Bowl, and the people will be too happy? Let’s run our ad, and ruin the whole atmosphere.”

I looked at the ad companies that produced some of the other ads. I didn’t bother to try and chase down the company that made the Nationwide ad.

I think I know who it was. It was the Mad Man agency, the one in the TV series that’s been partially on air for limited segments since 2007. Don Draper (more recognizable as Jon Hamm) is the creative genius in the agency, when he’s sober. When he’s on a drinking binge, his ad mind has a mind of its own, and I think that’s where this ad originated, after Don was in the second day of his three-day bender.

Surely the ad agency shot the ad then brought it to Nationwide to preview. The ad people and the Nationwide people must have sat around a long conference table and dissected the ad. Surely there could have been no smiles at the preview. Didn’t anyone speak up, and say, “I believe people will be having fun, and I don’t think this ad is appropriate for the Super Bowl?” Would that person have been shown the door for his/her adverse opinion? I cannot even imagine that somebody or somebodies didn’t object unless the board, provided it exists, always says yes to the big cheese.

Maybe I’m the dumb one here. The YouTube ad I looked at already has over six million views. Maybe the person at Nationwide or the people at the ad agency who came up with the ad, sit there all day, and go to that site to up the viewership to make Nationwide think they weren’t so dumb after all.

But, hold on. There’s another Nationwide ad running right now. It’s in three segments, the middle segment has a kid, maybe five or six, who has a cell phone, has made a call, and been put on hold for a period of time. He gets mad, and slams the cell phone into a piece of concrete.

Is this a kid who is just throwing a temper tantrum or is this a kid about to grow up to engage in domestic violence? Way to go Nationwide—again.

Did Don Draper have anything to do with this ad? I do think in one of the Mad Men episodes, Don popped a few pills now and then. Back in the time period that Mad Men occurred, I suppose the craze would have been LSD. Did Don come up with this ad in his LSD period?

Let’s contrast these two ads. The Super Bowl ad where the kid dies young in an accident, and the second ad where we can assume the kid grows up with a violent temper, and gets into an argument with someone because of his violent temper, and is killed, the other person claiming it was self-defense.

Nationwide, could you possibly have someone grow up, have a family, and need insurance, even though nothing bad happens to them until they die, which we all get around to sooner or later.

There is a third Nationwide ad that has aired. Peyton Manning is singing, “Nationwide is on your side.” Peyton was one of the best college QBs, and is one of the best NFL QBs (age may be becoming a factor), but his singing leaves a bit to be desired. However, all I’ve ever seen about Peyton, his brother Eli, and their father Archie is 100% wholesome.

What about some Manning family commercials? That would have been super at the Super Bowl, or later better than a brat throwing a temper tantrum that might migrate into domestic violence.

When Peyton sings, “Nationwide is on your side,” it does produce some pain, so mix his voice in with a chorus standing behind him.

They say as long as an ad is remembered, good, bad or otherwise, it accomplishes its goal. I hope next year’s Nationwide Super Bowl ad is not one of a person stalled on train tracks, they can’t get out of their car, the train is barreling down on them one second away, and they’re saying, “Forget my family. I hope I didn’t forget to pay my Nationwide insurance premium.”

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