"We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions," Nationwide said in a statement

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
February 02, 2015 02:00 PM

Following the immediate controversy that erupted over a Super Bowl commercial that took a particularly dark turn, Nationwide Insurance has responded in a statement insisting that its goal was not to sell insurance, but to start a conversation.

“Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don t know that. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation,” read a press release on the company’s website. “The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance.”

The 47-second spot stars a young boy listing off a number of experiences – like learning how to ride a bike, having your first kiss or getting married – that he’ll never be able to have because he drowned in a bathtub in an accident before being able to experience them.

A bit heavy for the Super Bowl, to be sure, but as Nationwide went on to insist in its statement, the company wanted to “build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us – the safety and wellbeing of our children.”

There’s no doubt that the commercial inspired a reaction – while not all of it was positive, Nationwide says that MakeSafeHappen.com, a site that aims to “educate parents and caregivers with information and resources in an effort to make their homes safer and avoid a potential injury or death,” garnered thousands of new visitors on Sunday night.