Nationwide’s ‘Goals’ Ad Highlights the Reward of Community Involvement

A partnership with the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award

Since 2014, Nationwide has partnered with the NFL and is the presenting sponsor for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. Nationwide
Headshot of Terrance Williams

As marketers, our roles have evolved dramatically over the past five to 10 years. We are no longer marketers in the traditional sense of simply message and media, but in an expanded role that includes targeting, advanced analytics, customer experience, machine learning, artificial intelligence and more. Throughout that time, however, one role marketers have continued to embrace is that we are often the heartbeat of our company, the emotional manifestation of our brand to the world.

For Nationwide, expressing the “size of our heart” is an important part of who we are. Our company’s heritage was built on giving back to the communities in which our members, associates and partners live and work. It’s been a hallmark of our culture for more than 90 years.

When Nationwide made the decision to partner with the National Football League in 2014, we didn’t want to be just another logo. We wanted to be a sponsor that made a difference in the lives of others. In being intentional about who we partner with, Nationwide found that we could differentiate our brand with NFL fans across the country.

More specifically, we chose to be the presenting sponsor of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, which is named for the late Chicago Bears running back and honors a player’s volunteer and charity work as well as excellence on the field.

One role marketers have continued to embrace is that we are often the heartbeat of our company, the emotional manifestation of our brand to the world.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, the 2017 WPMOY winner, summed up the award perfectly during his acceptance speech in February. He said this award is about the inherent good that lies within humanity. Mr. Watt pointed out that time and time again, we are shown how beautiful that human spirit can be and that now, more than ever, we need to see that spirit.

Mr. Watt charged listeners to ask themselves how they can make a difference. Nationwide is doing what we can to answer that call.


During this year’s coverage of the 2018 NFL draft, Nationwide will debut a new TV ad called “Goals.” The creative embodies how we feel about our WPMOY sponsorship.

“Goals” depicts a young NFL fan who has aspirations of playing in the NFL. While he dreams of becoming a great football player, he also expresses his desire to do good in his community and one day be named NFL Man of the Year.

Our intention with creating “Goals” is to reinforce the idea of serving others and to shine a spotlight on the heartfelt, charitable efforts initiated by so many players.

When Nationwide began our WPMOY sponsorship, we made a promise to the league, teams and players that we would use our resources and creativity to help amplify the players’ great work in their communities. “Goals” is the latest in a series of Nationwide activations to support and promote the award.

Since forming this partnership, Nationwide has donated nearly $1 million to the various foundations and charitable organizations represented by NFL players and provided the players a national platform in which to share their foundations’ stories. We’re proud to partner with the NFL, individual teams and the Payton family in recognizing the giving spirit of others.

You can visit www.nfl.com/manoftheyear to learn more about the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominees. Hopefully, you will read their stories and it will inspire you to go into your communities and do good.


@TW1906 Terrance Williams is CMO of Nationwide and a member of the Adweek Advisory Board.