Dana Carpenter

Why you should involve PR on the front end of your campaign strategy

By Dana Carpenter on February 5, 2015

Day in and day out at Core, we pride ourselves in being a truly integrated agency. That means bringing all of our talents around the table to provide solutions for every problem. That even includes bringing your judgmental PR person to the table when strategizing for something not typically considered PR – such as a TV spot. (I can say judgmental because I am – I’ve been tested.)

There’s numerous reasons why I think Nationwide missed the boat with their spot regarding accident prevention. As both a mother and a PR/marketing professional, there is no way I could have gotten on board with that concept.

Let’s review, shall we?

What is the overall strategy? If your strategy was to “make people begin talking about Nationwide,” you nailed it! According to Amobee, nearly two-thirds of the social mentions about the Nationwide spot were negative. It wasn’t until I read the statement from Nationwide, after the fact, that I understood the commercial’s call to action: Start the conversation on preventable household injuries. While the website itself has good intentions, they sacrificed their brand’s reputation in the process.

Who’s our audience? Yes, as women, we are generally the decision makers when it comes to all purchases, including insurance. But as mothers, we are also acutely aware of the dangers this world presents to our children on a daily basis and don’t necessarily need a reminder of those dangers during our time to relax.

What’s the best avenue to convey our message? It’s no secret the Super Bowl is THE avenue for television spots and capturing an audience. This year’s game garnered the largest audience in Super Bowl history with more than 114 million viewers. According to a recent article on CNN.com regarding Nielsen demographic data, 46 percent of the Super Bowl viewing audience is female and more women watch the game than the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys combined.

But why do we watch it?

Because it’s a family event. My young boys were watching at the time. Thanks, Nationwide, for making me explain mortality to my four- and seven-year-old boys.

Maybe I’m just being judgmental – again, I’ve been tested. Maybe I’m being cynical because of the lackluster spots this year, but I do think this entire situation could have been avoided by bringing a better mix of people to the decision-making table.

If you have a statement ready to go based on the negative response you’re expecting, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate and go another direction.


Dana Carpenter is the director of marketing communications at Core. Follow her on Twitter @DanaNCarpenter.