Super Bowl Ad Review: Nationwide Goes Super Creepy (UPDATED with Nationwide’s Response)

If you missed the Nationwide commercial that had Twitter buzzing during the Super Bowl, I’ve copied it here (commentary below):


Yep, pretty awful.

I have several observations / questions:

  • Check out the open 2nd floor window at the 25 second mark with the curtains blowing out.
  • It’s super creepy – because I think it was put there to subtly imply that the kid fell out of the window to his death.
  • What is a preventable accident?
  • Are some accidents more preventable than others?
  • Calling an accident preventable in retrospect doesn’t seem right to me.
  • Beyond the open window that I’m going to have nightmares about, the accidents alluded to in the commercial are (a) drowning, (b) a TV falling over, and (c) poison.
  • Am I supposed to believe that Nationwide is going to somehow help prevent these things from happening, but that there’s a whole other body of tragedies that they can’t do anything about?
  • I’d be interested to see Nationwide’s list of unpreventable accidents.
  • I wonder which list (preventable or unpreventable) for example, accidental death by erotic asphyxiation falls under.
  • Am I misunderstanding what insurance companies even do?
  • I thought they compensate you after an accident? They’re now in the business of preventing accidents? And deciding which ones are preventable in the first place?
  • Seems fishy to me.
  • I’m inclined to agree with the Twitter mafia – this was not a good advertisement.
  • I did feel sad, however, that the Boy’s dog had to go through life without him.
  • Seemed like a good dog. That’s sad.


UPDATE (11:44pm) Nationwide has Issued a response:

“Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don’t know that. Nationwide ran an 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-the safety and well being of our children. We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions. In fact, thousands of people visited, a new website to help educate parents and caregivers with information and resources in an effort to make their homes safer and avoid a potential injury or death. Nationwide has been working with experts for more than 60 years to make homes safer. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere.”

I sort of buy it. They had to know they were going to get people talking.

But the more I think about it – the whole idea of insurance companies trying to prevent accidents really is strange. I mean, one can easily see that less accidents means less claims, but insurance is about taking care of me if something bad happens. If I needed someone to tell me how to live a safer existence, I know plenty of people who are uptight control freaks that would gladly tell me how to run my life – free of charge.