K-Fed's Super Bowl Ad Angers Fast-Food Workers
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 24, 2007 12:15 PM EST
By Tim Nudd
Kevin Federline has a sense of humor about his upcoming Super Bowl ad for Nationwide Insurance, but some in the fast-food business aren't smiling.
A top executive at the National Restaurant Association has blasted the commercial, which shows Britney Spears's ex daydreaming about being a rap star but really working in a fast-food joint, for being "demeaning and unpleasant" to the nation's 12.8 million restaurant workers, the New York Post reports.
The rep, Annika Stensson, believes the ad could have been done differently. "A sudden change in Federline's career could have been depicted with him holding an unemployment benefit check," she says. "It shouldn't be necessary for a company to disrespect others to get its point across. ...It's a negative, unfair and inaccurate reflection. It's not Kevin we take issue with, but the depiction of where he ends up."
Stensson has complained officially in a letter to Nationwide CEO Jerry Jurgensen.
A spokesman for Nationwide, Eric Hardgrove, said the ad isn't meant "to offend or insult the many fine individuals who work in the restaurant industry," according to the Post. He said it is a "humorous take on one person's life. ...The focus of the ad is the element of surprise, not the setting of a fast-food restaurant."
In the commercial, Federline's journey from rap superstar to fry cook is meant to dramatize Nationwide's slogan, "Life comes at you fast."
Earlier this month, Federline told PEOPLE that the self-deprecating ad is the beginning of a "new Kevin" for 2007.
The Nationwide commercial is scheduled to premiere on the company's Web site next Monday, before airing during the Super Bowl on Feb. 4.
A peek inside Nationwide's K-Fed Super Bowl Spot
Q&A with Federline and Steven Schreibman, VP of Advertising and Brand Management at Nationwide.
Kevin Federline Q&A - Working on the Nationwide Super Bowl Ad and Life in 2007:
1.) Why were you interested in working with Nationwide on their Super Bowl commercial? What did you like about the concept?
The world knows the ups and downs of my life - I'm a perfect example of how 'Life Comes at You Fast,' and like all of us, I've been faced with many obstacles. Pairing up with Nationwide may be a big surprise, but this ad is a perfect fit for me, since it shows why everyone needs to be ready for what life throws at them.
2.) Your living proof that life does come at you fast! You had a very busy year. If you had to sum up your 2006 in one sentence, what would you say?
When life comes at you fast, roll with the punches and move on.
3.) Music is a big part of your life. You recently released an album and you show off your musical skills in Nationwide's Super Bowl commercial. Who are your biggest musical influences and why?
I have influences in all genres of music, from pop to rock to hip-hop and rap. My biggest influences include 2-Pac, Too Short, Snoop, etc. Music has always been an important part of my life.
4.) It's the start of a new year. What should we look for from Kevin Federline in 2007?
This Nationwide commercial is the first chance for the world to see the new Kevin Federline, who gets the importance of making good decisions and being better prepared for the future. I'm determined for the world to see a new and improved Kevin in 2007, so be on the lookout for upcoming big announcements in TV, film, fashion and music this year.
Steven Schreibman Q&A - VP of Advertising and Brand Management, Nationwide, on Choosing K. Fed. to Appear in the "Life Comes At You Fast" Campaign for Super Bowl 2007
1.) Nationwide has been poking good humored fun at the cult of celebrity in several commercials so far. First MC Hammer and Fabio and now Kevin Federline. Why did you think Kevin was the perfect star for this year's Super Bowl commercial?
I’ll be the first to admit that Nationwide and Kevin Federline are an unexpected combination, but that is part of what has made our campaign so successful. We hired Kevin Federline because he may be the most recent and best example of our 'Life Comes at You Fast' message. In the past year, there has been no more public example of how life comes at you fast than Kevin Federline. He’s everywhere in the media, and people can’t get enough information about the changes happening in his life, or what will come next after the smoke clears.
2.) How did you go about developing the concept and how would you describe it in your own words?
Last year romance novel icon Fabio was transformed into a haggard senior, much to the dismay of his on-camera love interest. In 2004, rapper MC Hammer sat dejected as his mansion was repossessed by the bank. Now Kevin Federline will be the third celebrity to appear in our Life Comes at You Fast campaign and make a splash at the Super Bowl by poking fun at the way his own life changed unexpectedly.
We view our 'Life Comes at You Fast' advertising as entertainment with a serious message. I think the shock of seeing Kevin in a Nationwide ad manning a drive-thru window is going to grab people's attention and make them laugh. But that will open the door for a serious message about preparing for the future. While there is only one Kevin Federline, there are many who feel the impact of life’s unexpected moments and can use help. Nationwide provides a wide range of products that can help people prepare for life "coming at them" including a full range of insurance and financial services products.
3.) What do you hope to accomplish with this ad?
Nationwide is primarily known as a property and casualty insurance company. This ad calls to mind the kind of life events that our other significant division, Nationwide Financial, can help customers prepare for or avoid. We hope more people will understand that Nationwide Financial is a leading provider of a variety of financial services that help consumers invest and protect their long-term assets. Visit Nationwide.com on January 29 to view the ad, or watch it live during the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl.
4.) Were there any particular moments during the shoot with Kevin Federline that really stood out or surprised you?
I think everybody’s favorite moment was watching Kevin record the rap, "Rollin' VIP," which T:M wrote specifically for this spot. Kevin was a total pro – he has a great sense of humor – and polished off the rap in less than an hour in the studio. The other moment which we’ll all remember is the humor Kevin added to the fast food scene. His ad libs alone could make an entirely new commercial.