Nationwide Confirms That Ogilvy New York Is Its New Agency of Record

By Patrick Coffee 

Six weeks after we first posted on the news, Nationwide confirmed today that it has indeed moved the entirety of its creative account to Ogilvy & Mather New York after dropping McKinney.

In February, the client did not comment directly on the Ogilvy rumors, telling us that “we’re evaluating all of our options to help us evolve our brand” but declining to provide more information.

Today, Nationwide’s (relatively) new EVP/CMO Terrance Williams says:


“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. 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.”

From Ogilvy New York president Adam Tucker:

“We were truly fortunate to rekindle our partnership with Nationwide two years ago. 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.”

Despite the client’s quote, it would appear that Ogilvy had some hint about the future of the business when Nationwide officially ended its relationship with McKinney after seven years.

We know this because the WPP shop fired Steve Howard and Chris Van Oosterhout, who had led creative on the business and received top credits on controversial dead-kid Super Bowl spot “Make Safe Happen,” about a week after the McKinney news broke. Sources with direct knowledge of the matter also tell us today that Ogilvy won the account in a closed pitch against McKinney.

This all means that Ogilvy has named or will soon name new creative leaders for the business.

McKinney beat out KBS, Carmichael Lynch and incumbent TM Advertising to win the business back in 2009, and five years later Nationwide hired Ogilvy to create a series of ads tied to the 50th anniversary of its own “on your side” tagline right after signing Peyton Manning to an extended pitchman deal.

Kantar Media says Nationwide spent $235.9 million on measured media in the months between January and October of 2015. That total marks an increase from its 2014 spend.