Nationwide (and death) is On Your Side

After the Nationwide commercial aired in the Super Bowl, my wife was incredulous. Not at the spot, but at my reaction. “Why would you laugh at that?!”

Why? Well, maybe it was because I didn’t expect the dark turn their Make Safe Happen commercial took, from sweet and magical at one moment to dead kid in the next.

So I suppose it was a nervous laugh, but not entirely. I was also laughing at how woefully stupid it was to bludgeon us with that message during America’s national football holiday. The shot of the TV tipped over was an appropriate image; most viewers probably felt that they’d been hit with a falling flat screen.

But I admire their moxie. It takes guts to do something that reckless in front of so many people.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a powerful ad — but maybe it aired in the wrong program. Consider the commercials for the New York State Smokers’ Quitline, you know, the ones that show horrible tumors and cancer victims. No question that they get your attention, but there are plenty of places you wouldn’t show them.

I think Nationwide succeeded in being noticed, but was it in a good way?

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