Nationwide Insurance has been getting a lot of social media heat for their Super Bowl Ad with the boy who will never learn to ride a bike, get cooties, marry or learn to fly.   At the time of this post almost 5 million people had watched the YouTube posting of the ad embedded below for your viewing pleasure. Beyond social media, other media pundits continue to argue about the effectiveness of the ad, with MediaPost’s Social Media Daily reporting that Nationwide was number one on their Digital Engagement Index, a measurement of social engagement.

Nationwide used the hashtag #makesafehappen in the campaign, but many felt the creative execution and placement of the ad left  much to be desired.  At a webinar today “Super Bowl 49: It’s Not Just About the Advertising…Or the Football Game” put on by Onstream Media , Zara Ingilizian one of the speakers said #makesafehappen is a good message, but that it should be associated with life not with death.   She claimed advertisers have to ask, how did the ad make you feel?  This ad didn’t work because it made people sad or depressed.

On Twitter, luminaries like Ellen DeGeneres, along with others jumped on the controversy.  Ellen’s tweet follows below:

Other Tweets

The success or failure of the ad is difficult to determine without a clearer understanding of the objectives for the ad.  Nationwide continues to support their placement of the ad and claims it was not intended to sell insurance but to be intentionally provocative. The Wall Street Journal had an article about the ad as seen below: