When you think about everlasting financial security for your family, what images come to mind? Do you picture something majestic and strong, like a magnificent rock? How about a friendly and reassuring pair of ever-enveloping hands? Or, perhaps, a wannabe rap star who has long out lived his 15 minutes of fame scooping fries at a local burger joint?
By this point, you’ve either realized the sarcasm of my opening paragraph or you think I’m completely insane. To be clear, I do not think that Kevin Federline was an intelligent choice to star in Nationwide’s Super Bowl commercial. The worst part is that the ad wasn’t even all that clever.
Nationwide’s Kevin Federline Rollin’ VIP ad opens like a glitzy rap video. K-Fed raps poetic about all of the dough that he’s rolling in. This fantasy video is cut short when the images cut to an image of K-Fed rapping in the video screen hanging at a local burger joint. The manager yells to K-Fed, “Federline! Fries!” K-Fed dutifully obliges the boss’ orders and leaves his fantasy world to scoop the fries.
The announcer surmises that “LIFE COMES AT YOU FAST®,” and explains that a Nationwide annuity could guarantee you income for life. The visuals switch here to the more traditional Nationwide piggy bank, and the audience is left with the effective call to action, that is, to ask their investment professional investment about this product.
A thirty second spot in Super Bowl XLI costs advertisers around $2.6 million dollars in on air fees alone. However, Nationwide’s ad does not live up to $2.6 million worth of expectations.
The story of Brittany Spears and K-Fed’s break-up is old news as is the so-called controversy surrounding the fact that she supported him with her money so now that their splitsville, he’s broke. It’s old news, and I’m bored with it. Therefore, their french fry scooping punch line falls flat.
What worked about this ad was that even before it aired, it’s content leaked, and ticked people off. The National Restaurant Association wrote to Nationwide stating that the ad gives the impression that working in a restaurant is demeaning and unpleasant. They even asked that the commercial not be aired. Since, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, in this respect, the ad works. On the other hand, Nationwide as a company really needs to have a trusted and respected image, so we might consider whether or not this type of publicity was really worth it after all.
If we were going to have to beat this K-Fed thing into the ground with a Super Bowl commercial, I would like to have seen someone really push the envelope. How about casting K-Fed in a Fed-Ex commercial? Or, better yet, casting him in a commercial to promote text messaging! Come on; you know you want to see that.
U.S. restaurants blast Kevin Federline TV ad. Reuters. January 24, 2007.
View the commercial here: