Why the Nationwide Ad Didn’t Work

By now, most of America has seen what has been dubbed, “the worst Super Bowl commercial of all time,” the somber Nationwide insurance ad called, “Make Safe Happen.”

Nationwide CMO, Matt Jauchius, told Fast Company that, “The purpose of the ad is to, in a way, stage an intervention on this issue.”

Here’s the thing about interventions. They are used when someone is in deep denial about a problem. Interventions are a last resort method used when someone is out of control, hell-bent on destruction and won’t listen to reason.

The challenge with preventable childhood deaths isn’t an issue of denial, it’s an issue of education. No one is purposely making their home an unsafe place for their children. No one is sitting idly by while children die. No one is unmoved by these statistics. They are just unaware.

The Nationwide ad missed the mark by creating fear instead of understanding.

Fear-based marketing is like TNT. If deployed correctly, and in the right context, it may accomplish breakthrough awareness. If deployed incorrectly, it will blow up in your face.

Or worse, Twitter.