Monday, February 23, 2015
Super Bowl Commercial Stirs Outrage--And National Discussion
By Alex Henning
The Super Bowl has ended and the New England Patriots won thanks to an interception by their team at the end. Many parts of this event have now been covered by social media sources, such as The Halftime event with Katy Perry, commercials during the game, and the small scuffle between the two teams at the end of the game.
In covering the commercials, such as the Jurassic World trailer spot, one commercial spot got more media attention than others. The insurance company Nationwide produced a commercial entitled "Make Safe Happen". In this commercial, a young boy is seen doing various things, commenting that he won’t ever get to do them. The commercial then pans on a close up of the kid’s face, and he ends the commercial by saying he won’t be able to do the things he mentioned because in reality, he is dead due to an accident. The commercial ends as a Nationwide person says to get insurance to protect people you love and to protect your children from accidents.
One media outlet that covered this commercial and its controversy was New Jersey’s The Record newspaper. Staff writer Bill Ervolino wrote an article under the title “ Shocking Super Bowl ad starts a nationwide conversation” where he takes a more in-depth look at reactions to the commercial. He quotes several statements from people who saw the commercial spot, ranging from horrified reactions, to low scores by people, to people saying it was bad taste to have done the commercial when and how they did. In particular, many thought the idea of Nationwide using a child's death to get people talking was wrong, and that since many people watch the Super Bowl with their families, they became horrified that their children saw the commercial.
Along with many other websites on the Internet, NBC News’ website rated this commercial to be the worst Super Bowl commercial ever. NBC does, however go a bit lighter than others by posting Nationwide’s response to all the backlash. Nationwide said that they had never meant to sell insurance through their spot, but to spark a conversation, which as newspapers and news sites alike will attest, they succeeded in.
Nationwide wanted to alert people to the issue and help people get more educated so they could protect those closest to them--with many people having visited their site MakeSafeHappen.com already. Whether it was ethical to air the ad the way they did, they got people talking about it, which seems to be exactly what Nationwide wanted.