McKinney created the amusing Nationwide ad – not the other one

In case you were wondering, Durham advertising agency McKinney created only one of the Super Bowl spots run by its long-time client, Nationwide.

McKinney, which has been Nationwide’s agency since 2009, created the amusing, upbeat “Invisible Mindy” spot featuring Mindy Kaling of the Fox TV show, “The Mindy Project.”

The dour, downbeat Nationwide spot, “Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up” – the one that triggered enough of a controversy on social media and elsewhere that Nationwide issued a statement after the big game clarifying its intentions – was the work of Ogilvy & Mather in New York.

The latter spot featured a young boy lamenting that he would never learn to ride a bike, get married, etc., because he died in an accident – accompanied by video showing him doing each of those things.

“The number one cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents,” notes the on-screen text.

Nationwide’s statement stressed that the ad wasn’t intended to sell insurance.

“One of the the things that we wanted to do,” said Nationwide spokesman Joe Case, “was to basically stage an intervention during the Super Bowl to start a conversation about making our homes safer to protect our children....Now, today, we are having conversations with media outlets across the country about preventing these accidents that take the lives of our children.”

Case added that Nationwide was prepared for “a gamut of reactions” to the ad, especially on social media, which he called “the wild, wild West.”

“This is not just a one-time thing with the Super Bowl,” Case said. “This is a long-term campaign you are going to see from Nationwide.”

The light-hearted ad that McKinney created for Nationwide featured Kaling acting as if she were invisible – sitting (apparently) naked in a park, trying to steal a kiss with actor Matt Damon – because she was always treated that way.

“Join the Nation that sees you. As a priority,” the ad concludes. “Nationwide is on your side.”

McKinney referred a request for commentany on the ad to Nationwide.

“That ad was all about positioning Nationnwide as a company that puts members first,” Case said. “We feel that was a huge success...We feel great about the partnership we had with McKinney on that particular ad.”

In other words, the Mindy spot was most definitely created to sell insurance.