Nationwide Ads

In a series of commercials, some of which played during the Super Bowl, Nationwide is encouraging parents to keep their kids safe. In each video, children are telling us that they can't do what they had hoped to do because they died.

Frank Eliason, a father who lost his child of four years old during a liver transplant, wrote a post describing how the ad affected him:

Let me introduce you to Gia. She was born in 2000. She never learned to ride a bike. Or got cooties. She never learned to fly. Or travel the world with her best friend. She will never get married. She didn't grow up, because she died during a liver transplant surgery as a result of liver cancer. She passed away on July 26, 2004.

Imagine Gia was your daughter. It is easy for me, because she is my daughter. Now we are over 10 years later, and I still think of her everyday. Now imagine escaping this troubled world for a few hours to enjoy the Super Bowl. It is an escape that only comes once a year. I enjoy watching the game with my girls, and try to forget the troubles the world brings. Then this commercial comes on:

How would you feel if you lost a child for any reason? Can you imagine the discussion it creates with your other children who are 7 & 8 about the sibling they never met? Simply put this brought nothing but pain to parents who lost a child, no matter the cause of death.

I know Nationwide has issued a statement stating that they were hoping to start a dialogue regarding safety in the home. That may be a noble goal, but this is not the way to start a dialogue of any kind. It is obvious to me that no one involved within the company or their advertising agency has ever suffered such a horrible loss. I certainly hope they never do.

Insurance is supposed to be about making you whole, but there is no insurance in the world that can ever make the loss of a child whole. In my view this commercial was much more than a downer, as the Washington Post stated. To me it was personal.

Here's Nationwide's press release:
Columbus, Ohio - 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.

In an unrelated Nationwide video, actress Mindy Kaling thinks she's invisible. This one's funny.

Discussion Starters:

  • Do you find Nationwide's commercials offensive or insensitive?
  • Assess the company's press release. Did it convey Nationwide's goals while recognizing intense reactions?