A leading restaurant association has called for the cancellation of a TV commercial featuring Britney Spears’ estranged husband, Kevin Federline, as a failed rap star working in a fast-food eatery.
In a 30-second ad for Nationwide Insurance, Federline is shown dreaming he is a rap star but then snaps out of it to face reality — he’s working at a burger restaurant.
The commercial is due to be aired Feb. 4 during the Super Bowl, advertising’s biggest televised sporting event of the year. Last year’s Super Bowl drew more than 90 million viewers.
But the National Restaurant Association’s chief executive, Steven Anderson, has written to Nationwide saying the ad leaves the impression that working in a restaurant is demeaning and unpleasant, and asking that the commercial be dumped.
“An ad such as this would be a strong and a direct insult to the 12.8 million Americans who work in the restaurant industry,” wrote Anderson, head of the association that represents 935,000 U.S. restaurants. “Developing creative concepts that accomplish the marketing strategies for a product should not require denigrating another industry.”
But Nationwide spokesman Eric Hardgrove defended the ad, called “Life Comes At You Fast,” saying it was designed to be entertaining, with Federline poking fun at himself while reinforcing the company’s role of meeting the financial needs of consumers.
Spears, 25, filed for divorce from aspiring rapper Federline, 28, in November. Federline’s debut album has since failed to make a dent in the pop charts, and a number of dates on his U.S. tour were canceled due to lack of interest.
“In this commercial we are using a humorous characterization of Kevin Federline’s life to encourage others to prepare for sudden changes in their lives,” Hardgrove said in a statement.
“The intent of the ad isn’t to offend or insult the many fine individuals who work in the restaurant industry. The focus of the ad is the element of surprise, not the setting of a fast food restaurant.”