Nationwide WAS “on my side,” till they 180’ed me; now they’re on my BAD side

It’s impossible to pass this advertisement for Nationwide in the Columbus Airport without stopping; or at least slowing down to take a gander and say, “Cool!” I actually passed it by, backed up and went over to take a closer look.

Upon further inspection, I noticed dozens of picture cubes that revolved on axes when you spun them.

I re-read the headline, “Nationwide is on your side.” Each box had a picture of a customer or employee, a testimonial, a statistic or a tagline. And then it all made sense. Of course! On your “side” like the “side” of the cube. Play on words. Got it.

Those clever marketing people…

Here are three reasons this ad is extrememely approachable:

1) It’s unique. It stands out. It MAGNETIZES you to it. After all, approachability comes from the Latin verb apropriare, which means “to come nearer to.” And no other ad in any airport I’ve ever seen has been so good that I felt the need to walk up and photograph it.

2) It’s three dimensional, which is just cool.

3) People just HAVE to spin these boxes. The inner child can’t resist! And when they do so, the boxes will continue to spin for at least 10 seconds, not unlike a good set of rollerblade wheels. So it’s fun, but it also makes the advertisement more approachable to the next set of people walking buy because it’s already moving. Almost like every passerby who spins the boxes is doing Nationwide’s advertising for them.

Subconscious customer evangelism, perhaps?

Subsconscious brand participation, perhaps?

Unfortunately about 25 minutes later, Nationwide’s spinning cubes took a “turn” for the worse…

I stopped by the post office on the way home. And waiting in my mailbox were SEVEN, count ’em SEVEN, pieces of junk mail from Nationwide.

And the worst part? None of them were actually addressed to me. They were all fake names. I have no idea who Kim, Paulette, Tessa, Al, Jon, Wendy and Marc are, but apparently they all share Box 410684 with me. Huh. Weird.

So, one minute, I’m ecstatic about an advertisement for a company I’ve never heard of before. I’m taking pictures, telling strangers and blogging about how cool they are. Exactly what companies want their customers (ahem…fans) to do.

Then, they send me (not just one piece) of junk mail, but seven. And now I’m totally annoyed by a company that, only a few minutes ago, I thought was great.

Way to go Nationwide: you grabbed my attention with spinning cubes; but now the only thing that’s spinning is ME…into a complete 180 that now thinks your company sucks.


Have you ever been 180’ed by a company?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag


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