Each year, Super Bowl XLIX digital media advertising endeavors turn into a stampede of awareness, engagement, and a race for optimal consumer reach. According to SI.com, some 112.19 million viewers ended up watching last year’s Super Bowl. That’s nearly half the U.S. population watching football. Hence the astronomical price tag for Super Bowl ad slots due to the potential wide reach of such large audience. While Super Bowl XLIX statistics are yet to be announced (later on today), there’s already a sea of controversy floating around the Twitterwebz regarding some of the commercials that made their debut.
One commercial in particular that’s catching plenty of heat is the Nationwide Insurance Super Bowl ad which created an outrage. I mean, children’s death, really? Did someone forget to evaluate the ethics behind such controversial message?
“Make Safe Happen” – The Controversial Nationwide Insurance Super Bowl Ad
As if the ad message itself wasn’t bad enough, add to the mix the outrage from consumers on Twitter. Oh, there was plenty of of that going around.
There are few things as disingenuous as an advertiser saying it's just trying to "start a conversation" http://t.co/iYamtrxftW
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) February 2, 2015
Nationwide Insurance statement about "boy" ad: "The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance"
— Jeff Rossen (@jeffrossen) February 2, 2015
Nationwide issues statement on their Super Bowl ad and the reactions it caused http://t.co/RYnXK6mfLu pic.twitter.com/WGek0fMfy8
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) February 2, 2015
Evaluate Ad Messaging – Always!
Anyone that has been in the marketing world long enough will agree that there’s a few things you should always be mindful of when comprising a campaign. Regardless of the channel that it will be broadcasted on. The fundamentals are more or less the same with an end goal of creating an emotional or sensual impact in the consumer’s mind.
- Consider strongly the emotional impact of the overall campaign
- Think about the controversial outcome. Is it abrasive or derogatory to potential viewers?
- Are you crossing borderlines on the ethical barrier?
- What will be the takeaway from the overall message?
- How will viewers respond to the entire ad campaign?
These are some basic elements to consider and judging by the message put across by Nationwide Insurance it wasn’t perceived well by majority of the audience. Fortunately, they finally came to the realization that due to the heavy amount of criticism accrued on social media, it was necessary to issue a public statement and clarify the outrage (as reported by BuzzFeed). Suave move guys! An example of good reputation management tactics, even if they were slightly delayed.