Once charted as the second most popular video in the United States, a Nationwide insurance commercial certainly has people talking. Dubbed #Makeitsafe Nationwide’s 47-second marketing nightmare is estimated to have cost over 4.5 million for permission to show during Super Bowl.
Nationwide is best known for its heartwarming and emotional commercials, depicting testimonials from victims of theft, natural disasters and fraud. They always end with the catchy jingle, “Nationwide is on your side.”
When the commercial ended with closing images of a dead child included, viewers, were outraged.
With more than 18,000 dislikes on YouTube alone, I’m in good company.
There is no time that a dead child commercial would ever be appropriate to Super Bowl viewers.
However, this level of hatred and infamy for the Make It Safe commercial could not have been possible without the legacy of highly emotional, politicized and idealized commercials that came before.
Super Bowl 2014 graced viewers with Doritos time machines and patriotic pistachios, commercials that were funny.
Unfortunately, 2015 Super Bowl sponsors were just serious, period.
We viewed heartfelt fathers bonding with their children, pondered the meaning of existence with Mathew McConaughey in car ads and promised #Nomore domestic and sexual abuse.
Let’s not forget the important anti-bullying campaign by Coca cola and pay with Love movement from McDonald’s. Needless to say, 2015 gave people a lot more than nachos to chew on.
Perhaps Nationwide hoped its commercial would be taken lightly like many other immature Super Bowl gags of the past. Maybe they hoped that its commercial would invoke the same emotion that are typical of its advertisements.
While other companies tugged on heartstrings, Nationwide assaulted its customers with a series of highly disturbing images.
Now Nationwide is cleaning up its own house, as the commercial has become an ugly stain on its public relations record.
One YouTuber, Mark Dice, summed up the thoughts of many: “Football fans want fantasy, not reality. They hate this commercial because it reminds them of the lives they hope to turn off during the Super Bowl.”
Football has always been equal parts American pastime and distraction. We tune in to tune out the demands and pressures that Monday brings.
We imagine each team as tough gladiators, but if the Super Bowl is a gladiator fight, we, like the Romans before us, ignore and forget the harsh realities of our entertainment.
For example, the fact that many NFL athletes make more than 10 times our nations leader, that current criminal offenses are often ignored, covered up or minimally prosecuted and that the NFL is a tax exempt organization, similar to nonprofits and religious orders.
The Nationwide commercial broke the fantasy – that’s why people are angry. We won’t even begin to discuss how Nationwide insurance can’t prevent children from getting killed in accidents. That’s another story entirely.