I’m opening my drawer in the “WTF Were They Thinking?” file. Exhibit A is the misguided, jack-assed advertising campaign costing Nationwide Insurance millions of dollars. Just call me Addy Oakley – The World’s Greatest Spokesperson in the World campaign is in my crosshairs and my trigger finger is twitchin’ to shoot holes in it.
The insurance industry in general has a long, storied history of low-to-no consumer confidence. Who among us didn’t cheer for the young lawyer outsmarting the sleazy, fly-by-night insurance company in John Grisham’s book (and movie) The Rainmaker? Most folks I know would rather have hot coffee thrown in their face, followed by a lit cigarette and a chaser of muriatic acid, rather than endure an evening with an insurance agent.
So what does Nationwide Insurance (or let’s be clear, their ad agency) do? They take the worst possible stereotype of an insurance agent and make that guy the company’s icon! WTF?!? Why is it that I, the voice of reason, am not sitting in on these pitch meetings?
Take, for example, this ad. Would this guy, who blatantly lies to a naive woman (thanks, guys, for marginalizing women once again with that overdone stereotype…guess you fancy yourselves modern-day Mad Men) about her singing abilities, be someone with whom you’d trust your insurance decisions?!? And how many women do you know (whose careers don’t involve pole dancing) that are willing to meet some strange insurance agent beneath a shady tree in a city park?
Or this ad, in which he schmoozes yet another gullible woman–apparently the only kind willing to meet with smarmy insurance agents–via his faked phone call to corporate, with the pronouncement that he’s changing the company name from Nationwide to Nation Pam to honor her? WTF?!?
News flash: The last thing customers want is to be patronized by yet another dishonest insurance company. We’re already up to our assholes in those alligators. Okay, maybe the last thing customers want is the World’s Smarmiest Spokesperson in the World performing his 3-handed freakazoid shadow puppet show on their wall. Only Jerry Sandusky could freak me out more.