Nationwide has given McKinney, its creative agency for seven years, its walking papers and will presumably launch a search for a new agency.
The split comes after a CMO switch at the insurer last year. Matt Jauchius left the company and was replaced by company veteran Terrance Williams.
Jauchius’ departure came a few months after the firm aired the controversial “Dead Boy” ad in the Super Bowl last year. The spot was about a dead boy talking about some of life’s precious moments that he wouldn’t get to experience.
Ironically McKinney, now part of South Korea-based Cheil Worldwide, had nothing to do with the controversial ad. It was developed by WPP's Ogilvy & Mather as a project. For last year's Super Bowl, McKinney did create a well-received spot in the “Invisible” series of ads for the brand that starred Mindy Kaling.
Commenting on the split, Brad Brinegar, Chairman And CEO, McKinney issued this statement:
“We are proud of the work we created, the successes we achieved together and the friendships we formed over seven years of committed partnership with so many good people at Nationwide. We are obviously disappointed with their decision.
"This was a long relationship, given that the average tenure of an account in the U.S. is just over three years. This does not reflect poor performance by McKinney. What it does reflect is a shift in strategic focus and client leadership."
The insurance company also issued a statement: "Nationwide works with a number of creative agencies to support our business needs. We recently informed McKinney of our intent to move in another direction regarding our creative work. We wanted to give the agency as much notice as possible so it could plan accordingly.
"McKinney has been a valued partner for nearly seven years, playing a critical role in the successful development of the “Join the Nation” campaign that launched in 2012. Our brand is healthier because of McKinney’s efforts. As Nationwide’s business needs change, we’re evaluating all of our options to help us evolve our brand."