Nationwide: Dead Kid Super Bowl Ad Was Meant to 'Start a Conversation'

Nationwide Dead Kid Commercial Super Bowl Video Controversy

In the wake of the deafening chorus of WTF?!s heard ’round the Internet on Super Bowl Sunday, Nationwide has defended its commercial in which a young boy laments the life events he will miss out on, because he is already dead.

In stark comparison to the first spot the insurer ran during the Big Game — in which TV star Mindy Kaling comedically makes the most of her “invisible” status — “Boy Can’t Grow” was derided en masse as being way dark, depressing and, well, an odd way to sell insurance, with the premise that potentially fatal injuries around the home should be avoided.

In a statement issued to NBC News, Nationwide says the spot in question was not meant to shill policies but “start a conversation” and build awareness. Read the explanation in full, then tell us if the advertiser’s message is now more clear:

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 MakeSafeHappen.com, 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.