A Rhetorical Analysis Essay Project
of 2015 Super Bowl Commercials

By Ryan Zimmer
English 12 with Mr. Smith at CNHS

Nationwide: Make Tears Happen
2015 Super Bowl Commercial

Mr. Smith's English 12 Essay Project

Nationwide: Make Tears Happen
By: Ryan Zimmer

In the Nationwide commercial, we see a child dreaming of manning a sailboat in stormy seas, similar to the imagination of any young child. Nationwide Insurance, whose motto is "Make safe happen", is trying to persuade viewers that they care about your their children. Although this commercial has multiple great appeals to a large population, their credibility is lacking. It has been coined fraudulent by on many accounts. While you're watching the Super Bowl, the last thing you want to pop up is a “ghost” of a deceased child talking about his accidental death due to neglectful parenting. The daunting question “Are your children protected?” will touch home with many parents, however, nationwide is incapable of keeping your children protected.

The commercials displays a typical childhood. You see a child learning how to ride a bike through a suburban neighborhood, a child sitting on the bus and is caught off guard when a girl kisses him on the cheek. The mood take a complete one-eighty and gives you the image of many accidents that could have taken place leading to a child's death.

This commercial’s primary objective was to force sadness, pity, and fear upon the viewer. The slow piano riff in the background complemented by angelic singing might be a tearjerker by itself, but the actual content will hit home, literally. What is the one thing that every single person has had at one point in their life, natural or artificial? The answer is family. This commercial centered around a young boy probably around eight years old, who died in an accident taking place in his own home. If this isnt a parent's biggest fear you may not be cut out for the gig. The boy then goes on to list milestones in a lifetime that every single person should experience. He starts with simple experiences like riding a bike, getting “the cooties”, traveling the world with your bestfriend, and getting married. Whenever you hear the term “cooties” the first thing that comes to mind is the innocence of a young boy. Hearing the news of an innocent bystander being murdered is a truly terrible thing to hear, but by bringing up cooties it puts a similar image in your head.

Nationwide uses parent’s biggest fears to convince their audience they need their product Nationwide Insurance to protect their children. The text reading, “The #1 cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents” appears on the screen after they use emotional appeal to overwhelm viewers with sadness. Nationwide hopes that this quote induces enough fear to convince the audience that their insurance will keep their children alive. The commercial displays images of an open window on the second story of a house, chemicals from under the sink dispersed onto the kitchen floor, and a television that tumbled down, leaving shards of glass all over the room. A TV falling and killing your child may never cross your mind as a parents, nevertheless, 42,000 people are injured every year. This ad tries to open the eyes of some parents and possibly saved lives of young ones.

The credibility of this ad is very poor considering Nationwide’s inability to provide 24 hour surveillance over your children. Nationwide is trying to sell insurance to parents afraid of losing what they care about most. This would be great if they substituted an injured child with a car that could be repaired with their assistance, but the fact is that they can do absolutely nothing to protect the life of your child, it makes a false promise. This commercial has offended many people who have lost loved ones at a young age, who They see this as Nationwide profiting from the possibility of heartbreak and tragedy striking someone's home.

Nationwide did an excellent job of capturing the hearts of viewers.These emotional appeals target a broad audience as well. The target audience ranges from from young children with friends, to grandparents or even great grandparents. The amount of emotion in this commercial was unreal, but was completely countered by the fact that the objective of this commercial was solely to sell insurance.

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