Nationwide defends morbid Super Bowl commercial

 This year's Super Bowl ads seemed to evoke a lot of raw emotion as opposed to eliciting laughter.

Late Sunday after the game, Nationwide issued a statement responding to the backlash generated by its ad narrated by a dead child.

Negative responses to the ad flooded social media soon after viewers' jaws were done dropping, and proved the death of a child and celebratory events aren't necessarily a match made in heaven.

In the ad, Nationwide told the viewer that preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood death in America, and in a statement, Nationwide said, "The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance."

The ad also inspired a series of spoofs, including this one that made the rounds on Twitter quickly after that game-ending interception by the Patriots:

It was Jared Smith, a software developer in Charleston, S.C., who sent that meme in a tweet, and he said he hit send because the ad angered him. It had incredible reach, especially given the minimal effort require to generate a meme. Smith's tweet has garnered over 20,000 retweets.

Full statement

"Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don't know that. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation. The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance. We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us-the safety and well being of our children. We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions. In fact, thousands of people visited MakeSafeHappen.com, a new website to help educate parents and caregivers with information and resources in an effort to make their homes safer and avoid a potential injury or death. Nationwide has been working with experts for more than 60 years to make homes safer. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere."

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