Nationwide upset: put timing on your side

Each February, millions of Americans gather together, eat and drink as much as their bodies will physically allow, and watch two groups of men throw/kick a ball back and forth for about two and a half hours. That's right, it's the Super Bowl. While we might try to justify our hedonistic actions on this evening, there is nothing we enjoy more than judging the creative works of our country's ad men and women while we sit at home thinking, "Who thought that was a good idea?"

Advertising is hard. An agency is trying to give life to an idea its client has but the client isn't able to completely verbalize the idea. It's a lot of back and forth and a lot of late nights, all to serve at the pleasure of the client (and the world). But there's another element in advertising that is often forgotten: timing. I believe Super Bowl XLIX's #AdBowl disappointed a lot of its audience because of an oversight on timing. It's tempting, right? Millions and millions of people are watching their television(s). Hell, people even prep for this night. So why wouldn't your agency 'move some things around' and pay the $4.75 million?

Unfortunately, this offer is too enticing to pass up and bad things happen. Business Insider published an article with the top five worst Super Bowl ads of 2015. On the list includes Nationwide's 'Make Safe Happen.' An ad which was supposed to remind us of the mortality of life (and the importance of insurance), quickly caused an upset . Viewers turned to social media, calling Nationwide's ad "horrible," "not okay," and "terrorizing."

Source: Twitter

I believe it was not Nationwide's intention to upset viewers. Taking care of yourself and your loved ones is very important and talking about 'what could happen' is uncomfortable. But what would have happened if Nationwide would have placed the ad on a different night? During a different broadcast? Would the same results have happened? As a client and an ad agency, it's important ask all the 'what if' questions before signing off on the work. No one would go up to someone on his/her birthday and say, "Enjoy it while you can- you never know when it will be your last." Why should an advertisement be any different?

Consider the audience. Consider the circumstances. Consider ALL the pro's and con's.

- c J w -