Super Bowl ads are supposed to be fun, humorous or surprising – something to talk about with co-workers on Monday morning.
But Nationwide bucked this trend with its ad Sunday night, going for morbid and grim instead. In the insurer’s ad, a boy says he will never learn to ride a bike, get “cooties,” learn to fly, travel the world or get married because he died from a preventable accident.
Nationwide said it was trying to be thought-provoking, not sell insurance. The brand wanted to call attention to its “Make Safe Happen” program about increasing safety at home, but it seemed to strike the wrong chord with people trying to have a good time at Super Bowl parties. Viewers were quick to complain online, and the Twitterverse made its displeasure known as well.