Nationwide Parts Ways With McKinney

Under a New CMO, Insurer Moves On After Seven-Year Run

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Mindy Kaling in a Nationwide spot by McKinney.
Mindy Kaling in a Nationwide spot by McKinney. Credit: Courtesy of McKinney

After a seven-year run, Nationwide Insurance is moving on from McKinney, its creative agency of record.

A spokesman for the Columbus, Ohio-based insurer noted that the brand works with a number of creative agencies. "We recently informed McKinney of our intent to move in another direction regarding our creative work," he said in a statement. "We wanted to give the agency as much notice as possible so it could plan accordingly." He added that McKinney played a critical role in Nationwide's 2012 "Join the Nation," a tagline still in use.

Brad Brinegar, chairman-CEO of Durham, N.C.-based McKinney, expressed disappointment with Nationwide's decision. "We are proud of the work we created, the successes we achieved together and the friendships we formed over seven years of committed partnership with so many good people at Nationwide," he said in a statement, noting that the business relationship was much longer than the three-year average tenure of an account. "This does not reflect poor performance by McKinney. What it does reflect is a shift in strategic focus and client leadership," said Mr. Brinegar.

Last spring, Nationwide replaced Chief Marketing Officer Matt Jauchius after a nine-year tenure with the company following the disastrous reception of the brand's 2015 Super Bowl spot. Dubbed the "Dead Boy" ad, the morbid commercial from Ogilvy featured a young boy who died early following a preventable accident. Mr. Jauchius was replaced by Terrance Williams, a veteran with the company.

Nationwide does not plan to air a Super Bowl spot in this year's game. Over the summer, the company signed on as official insurance sponsor of the National Football League. It's current campaign features Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning singing permutations of Nationwide's jingle.

The company spent $235.9 million on measured media in the U.S. between January and October of 2015, an 18% increase over the year-earlier period, according to Kantar Media.

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