Super Bowl 2015: Nationwide responds to outrage after dead boy commercial shocks viewers

The ad encouraged viewers to buy insurance to help prevent childhood deaths

Jess Denham
Monday 02 February 2015 11:43 GMT
Nationwide's Super Bowl ad featured a dead little boy
Nationwide's Super Bowl ad featured a dead little boy

Viewers watching the Super Bowl were left shocked after a “buzz-killing” commercial about a dead little boy aired during an ad-break.

The video by US company Nationwide Insurance showed the young child talking about all the life steps he will never take.

“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,” he says to the camera. “I couldn’t grow up, because I died from an accident.”

The heart-breaking clip ends with a reminder that the number one cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents before a promise from the company to “protect what matters most and #makesafehappen”.

Social media quickly ignited with mixed reactions to the ad, with many criticising the decision to broadcast it during the biggest sporting event of the US TV calendar.

“I would have appreciated the intent of this commercial if Nationwide had not shown this during the Super Bowl,” one viewer wrote on YouTube. “This is a gut punch to anyone who has suffered a recent or past loss.”

“Lots of people have lost children in terrible ways and having insurance doesn’t change that,” added another, branding the ad “disgusting”.

Nationwide’s ad aired during the first half of the Patriots v. Seahawks game last night and shortly afterwards, the company issued a statement addressing the “fierce conversation” it had started.

“Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don't know that. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation,” it read.

“The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance. We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us-the safety and well being of our children.

“We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions. In fact, thousands of people visited, a new website to help educate parents and caregivers with information and resources in an effort to make their homes safer and avoid a potential injury or death.

“Nationwide has been working with experts for more than 60 years to make homes safer. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere.”

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