Dear Nationwide,
I didn’t watch the big game Sunday night, so I missed the unveiling of your ad.  My husband was away and my son was watching the game with friends, so I had some “me” time.  I took an hour to write and caught up on some of my favorite shows.  Honestly, I felt like I didn’t miss a thing.  I rarely get the quiet time, so I relished every moment.

Like most Americans, I wasBusinessman hand drawing an umbrella above a family concept for curious to see the commercials.  They are always filled with emotion, shock value and creativity.  They did not disappoint.

But I cannot tell a lie.  Your ad, though creatively presented, simply gutted me.

I am a bereaved parent.  I lost one son at birth, and my eldest son Stephen died on a perfect July 4th day, going for a swim.  An accidental death that will never quite make sense, but one that I have learned to accept and channel into something that could help others.

I spend year after year thinking about the things that my child will not do.  He never graduated from college.  He never got that first big job.  He never married.  He’ll never have children of his own.  He will never have that light bulb moment as a new parent, gazing into the eyes of his newborn and being hit by the instant knowledge of how he would move heaven and earth for this baby, feeling a love he never knew possible.  He’ll never drop his kids off to Nana so he and his wife can get away for the weekend.  He’ll never….

Don’t get me wrong.  In terms of effectiveness, I am sure the ad really pulled people in.  And I truly appreciate the helpful tips you provide for parents for “making safe happen.”  I am sure they stopped in their tracks when the little boy said he died.  That’s what people do.  It is a parent’s worst nightmare.


But don’t insult them, and other bereaved parents like me by saying:

At Nationwide, we believe in protecting what matters most: your kids.

You provide insurance, and a website with helpful hints.  Parents protect their children, and even that is not 100%.  You can offer a policy for families to have in place in case things happen.  You can help the family take care of medical costs associated with accidents by taking advantage of some of your products.  But sometimes, things happen; things so random, so difficult to comprehend that there are simply no words to give meaning or understanding to what has completely changed your existence.

And let me tell you something else.  There is also no insurance policy that you can say is going to, beyond a shadow of doubt, protect my children from harm. I’m a customer of yours, and if there was, I would have remortgaged the house to pay that premium years ago.

I am sure I am not the only bereaved parent that was physically and emotionally affected by the ad.

I have talked to other bereaved parents who live every day with the unanswered questions, and the guilt, wondering if they could have done something that would have altered the outcome.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and wish that we could have a do-over for that day.

I understand what you were trying to do.  I appreciate the safety tips.  But as one of your customers, I have to tell you, I think it was over the line.  I think it misleads the audience as to exactly what you can protect and cannot, and I think it uses one of the worst possible things that could happen to a family as a cautionary tale to grab your audience.

Please remember that “He’ll never” is something that bereaved parents like me live with each and every day.  Please remember that the best thing you could do is to remember the PEOPLE who are behind those policies.