Like peeing in the salsa, Nationwide decided to ruin the Super Bowl party with a monumentally depressing ad about a child’s death. It was only one of a series of less than memorable, depressing ads that did not really fit with the Super Bowl theme. In fact, the Super Bowl has become a great time when Americans, so at each others throats for everything these days, can set aside all sorts of grievances to rally around two teams playing a game and find nonpartisan comity with the ads.
In fact, there was bipartisan agreement that the Nationwide ad sucked the mood out of the game and was generally crappy. So I must take it as an admission against interest that Adam Tucker, the head of Ogilvy & Mather, the ad firm that produced the Nationwide ad, has to justify it as “most brave and most important film” of Super Bowl ads.
There was nothing brave about it. I’ve seen Mothers Against Drunk Driving ads that rip your heart out. It was tasteless and did not fit with the Super Bowl.
It was moralizing preening from a company that wants your business and decided to make you feel bad in an effort to gain your business. That’s what the ad was. Nationwide did not pay that much money for an ad to be “brave.” Nationwide paid that much money because it thought you might feel so crappy after seeing the ad that you’d turn your cash over to Nationwide.
It was a crap ad. And Adam Tucker’s tweet about how “brave” it was shows just how tone deaf that he, Ogilvy & Mather, and Nationwide are.
If Nationwide is really sincere, it’ll drop Ogilvy & Mather and apologize for such a crappy ad ruining a night of parents and kids watching a game and cheering a team.
Nationwide, Ogilvy & Mather has died and is not on your side.