Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nationwide: It's a Co-op

I didn't watch the Superbowl and so have only heard about the Nationwide dead child ad second-hand through social media and the Daily Show. I don't know what it would have been like to see it as it aired in the midst of chicken wing consumption, beer commercials, and touchdowns, or especially what it would be like to watch it if I had a child who had died young (or at all, I suppose).

People seem to think the company was trying to sell insurance by exploiting the death of a child, but I'm not so sure. Nationwide has been promoting tools to help reduce the rate of accidents in the home for more than 50 years. Maybe that's partly because it's co-op, owned by policy holders, and not a publicly traded company, beholden to shareholders. Maybe they actually want you to be safer and for your kids to not die because they don't exist to create a profit for the shareholders, but rather a social benefit to their members, and by extension, society as a whole. "Nationwide is on your side," as the slogan goes.

Yes, the creative team could have thought harder about how the ad would play in the context of the biggest consumerist television extravaganza in our consumerist country. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea. But their motivations don't have to line up with many people's worst suspicions.


But don't get me started on their logo. I've never understood that empty picture frame... is it supposed to be a mirror where you see yourself? It just seems like a vacant concept that came out of a committee.

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