The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

February 2, 2015 | 4 min read

Nationwide has been criticised for running a mood-killing Super Bowl ad featuring a dead boy in a bid to spark a debate about childcare.

The ad in question came under fire for lowering the tone of the event with its series subject topic. In the 47-second slot, a young boy lamented his parents’ lack of care telling the camera directly: "I’ll never learn to ride a bike or get cooties. I’ll never learn to fly or travel the world with my best friend, and I won’t ever get married, I couldn’t grow up, because I died from an accident.”

Running with the hashtag ‘#MakeSafeHappen’ the video, which aired during the first half of the fixture, concluded with the fact that the number one cause of child deaths is preventable accidents.

Social media users were quick to criticise the ad. Digital marketing firm Amobee reported that over two thirds of social media sentiment towards the slot was negative, with a further 24 per cent neutral and 12 per cent positive.

Nationwide released a statement to contextualise the ad: "Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation... not sell insurance.

"We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us - the safety and wellbeing of our children. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere."

However, ad agency Ogilvy and Mather defended the campaign, claiming it was proud of its client's stance on the issue.

In the last 24 hours the YouTube video has been viewed almost a million and a half times.


Content created with:


Find out more

More from Nationwide

View all