Nationwide made its first foray into the Super Bowl in 2006 with a spot featuring male model Fabio, famous in the 80s and 90s for appearing on the cover of countless romance novels.
The ad, part of Nationwide's “Life Comes at You Fast" campaign, finds Fabio in his prime, pushing a gondola through Venice, only to turn into an old man upon passing the Bridge of Sighs. “Be prepared,” the voiceover says.
"A commercial for Nationwide Financial," New York Times ad columnist Stuart Elliott wrote, "showed there is some life left in a Super Bowl ad mainstay: the surprise ending."
To create the aged Fabio, a team from Stan Winston Studio, which handled special effects for movies including “Terminator” and “Jurassic Park,” started by replicating his face with a cast that took three hours to make. TM Advertising in Irving, Tex., created the spot. Nationwide continued the campaign in Super Bowl XLI with a different fading celebrity ("Rollin' VIP").
Director: Kinka Usher. Production company: House of Usher.
Creative director: Jim Ferguson. Executive producer: Nancy Hacohen. Copywriter: Ryan Carroll, Wade Alger. Art directors: Jay Russell, Andy Mahr. Editorial: Cosmo Street.Send credit info to SuperBowlAdArchive@adage.com.