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Superbowl Ad Has Infuriated Parents Trying to Explain the Death of a Child to Their Children

By: Krystle Crossman

The Superbowl is often filled with hilarious ads during the breaks. This year many of the ads were dark and depressing. Especially the one about the dead child. That’s right, Nationwide Insurance decided that it was okay to sell their product using a dead child in the ad. Granted this ad was in part a PSA for the dangers around your home, but it was still a marketing ploy to try and sell insurance. As soon as the ad aired during the family-friendly Superbowl event, parents took to Twitter in an outrage.

The ad starts off with a very handsome young man who looks to be around 7 or 8 years old. He is shown in a variety of different scenarios where he states that he will never get to do these things such as get married. Then comes the shocking line that made your brain go from, “boy, that is a cute kid” to “What?!”. The little boy says, “I couldn’t grow up because I died from an accident.” Way to bring on the buzzkill of the night Nationwide. They they show an overflowing bathtub which is supposed to depict a drowning incident. After that is a cabinet under the sink with toxic chemicals left lying about to depict an accident poisoning. Finally they show a large television that has fallen on the floor to depict an accident where heavy furniture has landed on children.

Parents were horrified at Nationwide’s choice in advertising and were sure to let them know on social media. Nationwide finally released a statement in which they said that most people don’t know that the leading cause of death for children is accidents that happen in the home and they wanted to make people more aware of the situation. They also stated that the message of this ad was not to sell insurance but to make people more cautious about the surroundings in their homes. If that is the case, why put your company logo all over the screen?

The thing that angered most of the parents that saw this ad with their children is the fact that they now had to explain that children die sometimes. Usually when you tell your young child about death you tell them that it is something that happens when you are much older because you don’t want them to live in fear. Psychotherapist Fran Walfish states that the best way to approach questions from your little one about the ad is to do it calmly so that they are not afraid. Answer their questions as honestly as possible but make sure that they know that death is not something to be afraid of when they are so young. Walfish says that you shouldn’t over-explain anything so as not to worry them.

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One thought on “Superbowl Ad Has Infuriated Parents Trying to Explain the Death of a Child to Their Children

  1. Playrighter

    I doubt the ad had anything to do with selling insurance. Many of the ads were about messages, with the sponsors name shown at the end (see also Nissan and Toyota).
    The message was about taking care of our children — a very vital message these days. I think it was Kevin Frazier (ET) who showed the ad and then commented how he was going to go home and hug his kids. While he apparently missed the irony, he restated the message of the ad.
    I applauded the ad when I saw it. It was a very poignant message — if you chose to see it for what it was.


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