BUSINESS

Nationwide Says 'Dead' Boy Ad Wasn't Meant To Sell Insurance

02/02/2015 09:57 am ET | Updated Apr 04, 2015

Feb 2 (Reuters) - Nationwide Insurance defended its Super Bowl ad featuring a "dead" boy, saying on Monday that it was intended to start a conversation about preventable accidents, not sell insurance.

The ad, labeled by one Twitter user as "the most depressing ever," has a young mop-haired boy saying sadly that he won't be able to learn to ride a bicycle or get married because he "died from an accident."

The ad goes on to show an overflowing bathtub, a under-sink cabinet containing cleaning materials with the doors ajar, and a wall-mounted flatscreen TV that has crashed to the floor.

A female voice intones that at Nationwide, "we believe in protecting what matters most - your kids."

The response was overwhelmingly negative.

"Hope you guys are having a great day. Did you know your kid is probably gonna die soon? Enjoy your nachos & funeral planning!," Rob Fee of Louisville, Kentucky tweeted.

Nationwide was unapologetic.

"While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialog to make safe happen for children everywhere," the company said on its website. (http://bit.ly/166llio)

Companies paid up to a record $4.5 million for 30 seconds during the game on Comcast Corp's NBC network seen by an estimated 100 million-plus viewers, the year's biggest television audience.

Apart from Nationwide's ad, Coca-Cola stood out with an anti-bullying message, while brewer Budweiser, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, played on happier emotions by again featuring a labrador puppy.

The New England Patriots won Sunday's game, beating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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