Nationwide Picks Ogilvy & Mather as Its New Creative Agency of Record

WPP shop helped write the client's 'infectious' jingle

The account had been with McKinney for seven years. Image courtesy of Nationwide

Six weeks after ending its seven-year relationship with McKinney, insurance giant Nationwide has officially named WPP's Ogilvy & Mather New York as its new creative agency of record without a review.

The client positions the decision as part of its move toward "a 'one brand' approach" to marketing. "Nationwide and Ogilvy share a rich heritage, with Ogilvy helping to develop the original 'Nationwide is on your side' slogan more than 50 years ago," said Nationwide evp and chief marketing officer Terrance Williams. "We work with many agencies to support the needs of our business, but we only need one creative agency. Rather than putting the work out to bid, we conducted a thorough internal process and determined that Ogilvy is best positioned among all of our partners to support our journey from many brands to one."

"We were truly fortunate to rekindle our partnership with Nationwide two years ago," said Ogilvy & Mather New York president Adam Tucker. "Our subsequent Peyton Manning work captivated the nation demonstrating the timeless, infectious power of the jingle, 'Nationwide is on your side.' Today, we're proud to carry on the tender nurturing of what started as an advertising tagline, and is now both a brand ethos and a way of doing business at Nationwide."

In addition to the Peyton Manning campaigns, Ogilvy also created "Make Safe Happen," the most-discussed and controversial ad from Super Bowl XLIX which was narrated by a dead child. Nationwide CMO Matt Jauchius left the company soon afterward, though the client declined to tie his departure to the response to its Super Bowl campaign, and the company's various agency partners claimed that the announcement had taken them by surprise.

Today's news confirms a February report from Adweek Blog Network's AgencySpy in which several sources claimed that Ogilvy would inherit the entirety of the Nationwide account. McKinney won the business in a 2009 review by defeating KBS, Carmichael Lynch and incumbent TM Advertising (now part of the McCann Worldwide organization). Nationwide then added Ogilvy to its roster in June 2014 to create a brand campaign honoring the 50th anniversary of its tagline "Nationwide is on your side"—a line written by Ogilvy.

One week after Nationwide dropped McKinney, Ogilvy also parted ways with Steve Howard and Chris Van Oosterhout, the two creative directors who had led the account and received top billing on "Make Safe Happen."

This means that the agency will almost certainly name new creative leaders to work on the Nationwide account moving forward.

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