Fabio in Nationwide Gondola

Nationwide Insurance made its debut in the third quarter of the 40th Super Bowl with a humorous commercial featuring Italian-born model Fabio Lanzoni.

Gondolier Fabio with shampooA gondola glides through the canals of Venice. A young woman sits beside a bunch of roses, lavishing the attention of the gondalier, Fabio himself.

The voiceover: From the man who brought fantasy to life comes a hair product born into reality. Beauty has a face. Perfection a name.

We’re treated to shots of white horses and Fabio in a petal blowing petals, along with ‘Fabio, Shampoo Di Italia’. As the gondola passes under a pedestrian bridge Fabio reaches down to take a red rose.

“And now you can experience a shampoo worthy of only one man’s…”

Fabio in his 80sThe voice and music stops. The woman looks up horrified to see that Fabio has aged – now he’s 84 rather than 46. He holds the rose out and puckers a kiss with a sexy growl.

A new voice cuts in… “Life comes at you fast. Be ready with Nationwide Investments, Retirement, Insurance.” And then another voice, “Nationwide is on your side”.

Nationwide Insurance, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world. They feature the ‘Gondola’ ad on their site in Windows Media format for dial up and broadband.

Life Comes At You Fast

Two other Nationwide Insurance spots, ‘Proposal’ and ‘Swing’ broke during the Super Bowl pregame show. The campaign includes new internet, direct and out-of-home advertising.

Nationwide, in their press release, say that the ‘Life Comes at You Fast’ concept was created to remind people that they need to think about preparing for the future. Steven Schreibman said, “We’re using humor and a celebrity to get peoples attention and cut through the clutter with a very serious message: You need to be prepared for life to change, because change is inevitable.”


Fabio After Dark CD at Amazon.comFabio is known in the United States for his modelling for the front covers of romance novels, the first of which was Hearts Aflame in 1987. He was originally from Milan but was obviously at home in the Venetian environment. Recently he has appeared in a number of commercials, including “I can’t believe it’s not butter”, and will be appearing in a movies this year, Staar and Asian Fusion.

“I know from experience that life come at you fast,” said Fabio. “I am continually preparing for the next stage of my career taking steps to ensure that, as life changes, I will be ready for the future.

Fabio International Fanclub reveals that Fabio is likely to consider cutting his hair shorter as he ages.


The Fabio Nationwide Gondola campaign was designed by advertising agency TM, an independently managed subsidiary of McCann Worldgroup, by executive creative director Jim Ferguson, creative director/copywriter Wade Alger, creative director/art director Jay Russell, copywriter Ryan Carroll, art director Andy Mahr, and agency producer Hal Dantzler.

According to Adweek Magazine in Print, January 30, T:M creative directors Wade Alger and Jay Russell were shooting Fabio for a billboard with a romance-cover theme in December 2005. Copywriter Ryan Carroll suggested they go the next step and shoot a television commercial with Fabio as well. When they presented the concept to Nationwide marketing executives they got the green light. Steven Schreibman, VP, advertising and brand management said that Kathy Ricord, executive VP and chief marketing officer, warmed to the concept immediately.

Once Nationwide decided to take the ad to the Super Bowl, the pressure was on.

Filming was shot by director Kinka Usher via House of Usher with executive producer Nancy Hacohen, and director of photography John Lindley. The ad was shot in Venice on January 11 in near freezing temperatures. Kinka Usher, director, is a fluent speaker of Italian and was able to cross the language barriers with the Italian crew.

Editing was done by Chan Hatcher at Cosmo Street.

Music was composed and mixed at Ashe & Spencer

Face makeup was used to produce Fabio’s aging effect. Behind the mask work was Stan Winston Studio, known for their work on Aliens, Jurassic Park and AI.

Behind the Scenes

Nationwide’s ‘behind-the-scenes’ video provides a commentary from Steven Schreibman, VP Nationwide Insurance Advertising & Brand Management, Jay Russell, Group Creative Director/Art Director, TM Advertising. Fabio is interviewed and shown going through his transformation from junior to senior. Ritchie Alonso, Sam Winston Studio Make-up Artist, shows us through the prosthetics process.