Normally, I would have no reason to write to you. You are not my insurance company and I am not shopping for any. I didn't even see your controversial ad last night because, not being any kind of football fan, I didn't watch the Super Bowl. Until this morning when I realized it was being talked about all over Facebook, especially in the circles for bereaved parents.
Seriously? Something in the Super Bowl commercials to create so much chatter in those circles? So I watched it this morning, your ad with the cute little boy detailing all the things he'll never do because he died in an accident. And then your camera views illustrating how preventable accidents cause child deaths, and a plea that we "make safe happen."
Okay, I get it. The point was to prevent accidents, to prevent child deaths. And I applaud you for that.
But your delivery? Awful. AWFUL.
- This was depressing and not appropriate for the Super Bowl, especially with kids watching.
- This is life, and the message is important, so stop being so sensitive, self-absorbed, or easily offended.
- This is my life everyday, because my child did die.
I'm in category 3. I have lost five of my seven children, all during pregnancy, including our daughter Naomi, who died in my second trimester six years ago. So no, it wasn't one of the "preventable accidents" you were focused on. But the first 20 seconds of your commercial wasn't about that. It was about all the things a child will never get to do because they died. And it hit home with every parent who has ever said good-bye too soon.
Because I have to hand it to you - you got that part right. At my daughter's memorial service, all I could think about was how this was the only thing I would get to do for her. There would be no birthday parties, no graduation, no wedding.
What you apparently didn't foresee was how terribly painful that commercial would be for bereaved parents.
Because when your child has died, whether from an accident or not, whether in the womb or in infancy or childhood or even adulthood, you struggle to get to the place where you are not thinking every single moment about what your child would be doing today if he or she had not died.
And when you finally get to the point where you still think about it often, but not every waking moment, the last thing you need is a Super Bowl commercial to kick you in the gut and remind you of what you are missing. Not because we are a bunch of selfish people who don't want to face reality. No. It's because we have faced one of the worst realities there is, the death of a child, and survived, but we are still healing, and an in-your-face reminder of what we lost (as if we will ever forget) just hurts.
And as much as I am in favor of talking about child loss and stillbirth and miscarriage, because those are topics that NEED to be talked about, this was not the way to do it.
Could your ad keep even one child from dying by raising awareness? Oh, maybe. And that is what I was told by someone responding to my comment on a Facebook post. You missed the point, she said.
No, I got the point. Children die. Sometimes it can be - and of course should be - prevented. Got it, and I agree. I don't want any parent to go through what I and others have lived through.
But there had to be another way to say it without sucker punching bereaved parents who know very well that losing a child means losing a big piece of your future.
So good intentions, Nationwide.
But lousy delivery. And while an explanation of why you did it is understandable from a PR perspective, you would get a lot more mileage at this point with a message of sympathy for those bereaved parents who may have been hurt, deeply, by your 30 seconds of fame.
Mother of seven
Two on Earth, five in Heaven
P.S. to my readers - I am sure that not every bereaved parent responded the same way to this ad. I am not trying to speak for everyone.