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Monday, February 2, 2015

Twitter erupts over Nationwide Super Bowl ads

Over a hundred million people tuned into the Super Bowl for the most highly anticipated commercials of the year, but it wasn’t the usual Budweiser that set off a firestorm on social media – it was an insurance company.
In between puppies and lots of dads – and, also, the showdown between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks – Nationwide Insurance put out two controversial commercials that both became trending topics on Twitter with over 22,000 tweets.
“Make Safe Happen” begins with a young boy talking about the things he won’t be able to do in life, including travel, get married or ride a bike. It seems harmless and cute, until the ad quickly takes a depressing turn when it reveals that the boy died and that he’ll never actually get to do those things. The commercial then shows an overflowing bathtub with a caption: “The #1 cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents. At Nationwide, we believe in protecting what matters most, your kids. Together we can #MakeSafeHappen.” It caused an instant buzzkill and the Twitter handle Nationwide Kills was promptly created. 

Late Sunday, Nationwide released a statement standing by the commercial:

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. 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.
Actress Mindy Kaling starred in another Nationwide commercial called “Invisible Mindy Kaling,” in which she wonders if Indian-American women are actually invisible. ”After years of being treated like she was invisible, it occurred to Mindy Kaling she might actually be invisible,” the narrator says in the ad. Kaling eats a tub of ice cream or cotton candy or cotton candy ice cream through a grocery story, strolls through a working car wash and frolics around freely until actor Matt Damon calls her out for invading his personal space at a restaurant. She then realizes she actually isn’t invisible. 

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