Nationwide Switches Up Jingle to Show Its Many Sides

Rachel Platten, Brad Paisley Spots Reinforce That It Sells More Than Car Insurance

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Rachel Platten is on Nationwide's side.
Rachel Platten is on Nationwide's side. Credit: Nationwide
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Nationwide wants consumers to know it's multi-dimensional. Beyond just auto, the Columbus, Ohio-based company sells homeowners, life and pet insurance as well as retirement plans and banking services. A new campaign breaking Friday during the Olympics opening ceremony will emphasize the company's many sides while reinforcing the decades-old jingle the brand has long embraced. To that end, Nationwide has tapped two musicians—Rachel Platten, of "Fight Song" fame and country star Brad Paisley for its new campaign.

A 30-second spot featuring Ms. Platten will introduce the new marketing effort. She sings about "early-morning-dad side" while a father struggles to braid his daughter's hair, and a "retire-at-50 side" for many working hopefuls, before the key lyrics, "Helping to grow and protect your many sides." The commercial ends with "Nationwide is on your side." Similar spots with Mr. Paisley will debut this month. Each songwriter assisted with the lyrics composition.

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"The intent was to create a campaign that really did tell a story that centers around the many life events that exist for American consumers and in a subtle way, also convey that Nationwide can be the solution for all of those many sides," said Terrance Williams, exec VP and chief marketing officer, noting that 75% of Americans view the brand as only an auto insurance company. "The intent was to use our jingle but use it in a new way," he added. This is some of the first new creative work Mr. Williams has helmed since taking over the top marketing role last year at the company, which has $43 billion in total sales.

The three 30-second spots are designed to air throughout the Olympics and continue indefinitely; the door is also open for potential partnerships with additional musicians, Mr. Williams noted.

Ogilvy & Mather, which was named Nationwide's creative lead agency earlier this year, created the campaign. Nationwide also worked with Edelman on PR, while UM handled media duties.

"Our creative approach takes the 'Nationwide Is on Your Side' jingle—which is arguably Nationwide's strongest and most iconic equity—and builds upon the catchiness to highlight the many aspects of the Nationwide brand," said Corinna Falusi, chief creative officer at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising New York.

Though Mr. Williams declined to specify how much Nationwide is spending on the new campaign, he said the company is shifting more dollars to digital. The insurer, which was founded in 1926, will push out exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and content online to build excitement around the new marketing. Last year, Nationwide spent $279 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Ad Age's Datacenter. Two years ago, the company consolidated its many different offerings, which included Harleysville Insurance, Scottsdale Insurance, and Veterinary Pet Insurance, under the single Nationwide brand.

As insurers grapple with how best to sell their wares to the new breed of millennial shopper, many brands are refreshing their marketing with new shops and messaging. Recent months have seen fresh campaigns rolled out by the likes of State Farm, working with DDB Chicago, and Allstate, working with Leo Burnett. Geico debuted "It's Not Surprising," a campaign touting its savings that is in keeping with the brand's quirky-and-expected humor, last week.

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UPDATE: An earlier version of this article said that Jon Batiste, bandleader of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" would be part of the campaign. Nationwide today said that due to a contractual issue, Mr. Batiste will no longer be appearing in the ads.