Nationwide ad, Super Bowl ad

Among the funny and action-packed commercials and movie trailers that peppered the Super Bowl XLIX broadcast Sunday night, you probably noticed the grim spot by Nationwide, which featured an adorable young boy who was killed off to highlight awareness of accidental childhood deaths.

Understandably, the public reaction to the ad has been loud, ranging from comedians poking fun at the jarring message, to people outraged by an insurance company using a (fictional) child's death to drum up sales for its product. Late Sunday night, Nationwide issued a statement responding to the controversy, and defended its message as one of awareness, not a sales pitch.

The statement, in full:

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.

While we can see the company's perspective, it appears that something was lost in translation. The fantastical computer-generated imagery came across as very out of place, and we just felt bad for the mop-topped kid who had to deliver the line, "I couldn't grow up because I died from an accident."

Then again, we're still talking about the ad today. Regardless of the negative feedback, it seems Nationwide's gamble paid off.

Check out the clip below and judge for yourself.

[via: Nationwide, h/t Uproxx]

Photo credit: YouTube