Nationwide casts shadow over Super Bowl with somber ad

Companies have been known to pull at people's heartstrings with emotional Super Bowl commercials (we're looking at you, Budweiser), but Nationwide went for an unusually somber tone with one of their ads.

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The commercial appears to begin happy enough, with a young boy trying to catch up to a group of his friends on their bikes. But it turns out he'll never catch up to his friends because...he's dead.

That's right. From catching cooties to traveling the world to getting married, Nationwide's commercial is all about the things the boy will never do because he was killed in an accident.

The commercial goes on to inform viewers that No. 1 cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents while showing images of overflowing bathtubs, toppled TVs and cleaning products kept under the kitchen sink.

"We believe in protecting what matter most...your kids," the narrator says.

Viewers were quick to react, shocked at how dark the ad was.

Nationwide issued a response to the criticism, saying the ad was meant to be a conversation starter.

    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, 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.

What did you think of the ad? Let us know in the comments below.
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