Nationwide Insurance made a massive miscalculation with this spot.
Super Bowl viewers expect to be entertained by the advertising. This spot wasn’t just unentertaining, it was downright depressing.
But Nationwide’s miscalculation was not just airing the spot on the Super Bowl. Their main miscalculation was making the spot.
Ads are an exercise in association. Brands advertise to associate themselves with the rewards of purchase. In this spot, Nationwide takes a different approach. Nationwide associates itself with the problem not the solution. In this spot, Nationwide associates itself with the death of children. At the end of the ad, Nationwide makes an effort, through an announcer voice-over and words on screen, to align itself with “making safe happen” and avoiding household accidents which are the number one cause of death in children. But all the drama in the spot, and that’s all viewers really pay attention to, is focused on a child who will never grow up and the aftermath of horrible household accidents.
The ad is different from other Super Bowl ads. Sometimes different isn’t better, it’s just a mistake.
What were they thinking?