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February 5 , 2006

The "young" Fabio - turns out he nearly sunk a gondola
nearly spilled the girl in the water and crashed a boat!
He's from Milan Guys! Not Venice!
3 hours training to push a gondola around.
Lucky girl.

Nationwide ad finds Fabio's flowing locks flattened

By Theresa Howard, USA TODAY

NEW YORK — Most people in the spotlight on Super Bowl Sunday want to look their best.
An ad for Nationwide starts out seeming to promote a line of Fabio shampoo; it envisions the model as an old man.

But looking his worst in an ad for Nationwide Insurance is fabulous Fabio, the amply-coiffed and buff romance novel cover guy. In an ad showing that life goes quickly, Fabio is aged into an old man because he didn't prepare for his future.

"The crux of the campaign is, your life can change in a moment and you have to be prepared," says Steven Schreibman, vice president, advertising and brand management for the insurer. "Humor has always been part of our campaign. It opens the door to healthy discussions because it's that kind of (product) people are afraid of and depressed by. We want to take those stigmas away."

Nationwide joins more than 25 other advertisers looking to score with the 90 million viewers forecast for ABC's broadcast. Humor is something viewers expect in Super Sunday commercials.

Fabio was happy to oblige. "Life is too short. Why not have fun with life? When they told me they are going to make me look 120 years old, I thought it was great," says Fabio in a phone interview from his Los Angeles home.

"Nationwide got tired of seeing boring commercials by their competitors. Most insurance commercials are so lame. They thought to come out with something funny and they contacted me, and I thought it was really, really funny."

The ad continues Nationwide's ongoing series of "life is short" ads. They open with a storyline that appears to be an ad for something else — until a twist reveals that the product being advertised is Nationwide Insurance.

In this ad, Fabio, 46, pushes a gondola through a Venice canal as a young woman looks up at him with longing eyes. The faux ad is for a new line of shampoo by Fabio. For a split-second he disappears, passing under a canal bridge. He emerges as old Fabio — still with big hair and with the mindset of younger Fabio.

"Be prepared" says the Nationwide message, because, "Life comes at you fast."

Life passed really fast for Fabio with help from the Stan Winston Studio, which has done makeup for the Terminator movies and the Jurassic Park films. A team of artists aged him first by replicating his face with a cast that took three hours to set.

"You cannot move and you barely breathe, and it gets really, really hot," says Fabio. "People do not realize how much you breathe through your pores. You really get a lot more respect for actors after you go through this."

The team then used the cast to create practice faces for applying prosthetics and makeup. They drilled for a week before the application on the real Fabio — which took five hours — for the filming. They also wove in a big white wig to replace Fabio's trademark flowing locks. For the final scenes, a computer put Fabio's head on a real old man's body.

Will Fabio keep those long locks as he really ages? "No, absolutely not," he said. "I'll have it for a few more years, than I'll chop it off."

Rest assured, commercial expected to leave you laughing
Fabio to try humor in maiden Super Bowl ad for Nationwide Insurance.
New York Daily News

Heartthrob Fabio, with his buff chest and long flowing locks, gives a beautiful woman a big surprise in his first Super Bowl commercial.

Nationwide Insurance will go for bawdy laughs in its first national Super Bowl spot featuring Fabio, Nationwide execs told The New York Daily News.

While other Super Bowl advertisers are still steering clear of sex or crass humor following Janet Jackson's 2004 ''Nipplegate,'' Nationwide will push the envelope today.

The insurance company's 30-second ad, which will run in the third quarter of the game, starts out looking like a cheesy, soap opera-inspired shampoo commercial.

Fabio, dressed in a white pirate shirt -- his bare chest is showing, of course -- is seen standing on a gondola, rowing, in Venice. His passenger is a beautiful woman with flowing hair that rivals his.

Then come the over-the-top, suggestive images: a white stallion, a flower opening in slow motion, Fabio blowing petals into the camera. In between it all, a shampoo bottle, labeled Fabio, pops in as well.

It's all one big Harlequin romance until Fabio reaches out to hand his lady a rose. She looks up in horror to see Fabio as an 85-year old man.

The cautionary punchline: ``Life comes at you fast.''

''We're going for big laughs and big talk value,'' said Steven Schreibman, vice president of advertising and brand management for Nationwide.

Though he's no ad man, Fabio said the goal of the ad, created by Dallas agency TM, was to set Nationwide apart from sober insurance ads. ''The company was tired of silly commercials from the competition,'' Fabio said, calling in from Los Angeles.

Though his sculpted face has been on the cover of 2,000 romance novels and he is about to appear in an HBO film called Star, Fabio said being on the Super Bowl is a new high for him. He plans to watch tonight and is rooting for the Seattle Seahawks.

The model went through 4 ½ hours of makeup to perfect his older look. Does he expect to ever look that way? ''I hope not,'' he said. ``But in life you never know.''

Fabio is about to expand his Fabio fashion line, which is now sold in Sam's Club stores. He expects an announcement with another national retailer shortly.

Fabio isn't the only celebrity appearing at the Super Bowl, which is expected to attract 90 million viewers.

Monday, Pepsi announced that Diddy will return to star in a Super Bowl ad for Diet Pepsi. A second Diet Pepsi spot will feature Jackie Chan. Comedian Jay Mohr -- of Jerry Maguire fame -- stars in both, acting as Diet Pepsi's ``agent.''

And Bayer's Aleve has tapped Star Trek's Mr. Spock Leonard Nimoy to star in its Super Bowl commercial.

But overall, this is not a banner year for celebrities in the Super Bowl, said entertainment consultant Ryan Schinman, who matches stars and advertisers. ''People are looking for alternate ways,'' to tell their story, he said. Other Super Bowl ads will be heavy on special effects and wacky humor.

The average 30-second Super Bowl ad this year cost $2.5 million, up 4.2 percent, from last year's $2.4 million.


Fabio Promotes Line of Shampoo in Super Bowl Ad

February 02, 2006

Fabio's promoting his new line of shampoo as he floats down the canals of Venice in a gondola. The gondola goes under a bridge and when it comes out, Fabio is a 90-year-old man.

Would you guess you were watching a commercial for Nationwide Insurance? The insurance company is making its Super Bowl debut with the ad, continuing its Life Comes at You Fast campaign.

• Press Release: Nationwide Debuts Super Bowl Ad (PDF File)
• Super Bowl XL: Complete Coverage
More on Nationwide's Ad:

Look for the Nationwide commercial during the third quarter. The spot will also be available on the company's Web site after the game. Nationwide has also purchased two ads sans Fabio during the pre-game show.

Get a sneak peek at Fabi-old

February 3, 2006

Heartthrob Fabio, above, with his buff pecs and long, flowing locks, gives a beautiful woman a big surprise in his first-ever Super Bowl commercial.

The 30-second ad for Nationwide Insurance, which will run in the third quarter of Sunday's game, starts out looking like a cheesy shampoo ad.

Fabio, dressed in a white pirate shirt – bare chest showing, of course – is standing on a gondola, rowing, in Venice. His passenger is a beautiful woman with flowing hair that rivals his.

Then comes a series of suggestive images: a white stallion, a flower opening in slow motion, Fabio blowing petals into the camera, a gondola heading into a tunnel. A shampoo bottle, labeled Fabio, also pops up.

It's all one big Harlequin romance until Fabio reaches out to hand his lady a rose. She looks up in horror to see him as an 85-year old man.

The cautionary punchline: "Life comes at you fast."

Does Fabio, who went through 41/2 hours of make-up for the part, expect to ever look that way?

"I hope not," he says. "But in life you never know."

Nationwide Insurance also is going for laughs. Their ad features Fabio in what first appears to be a shampoo commercial.

The Super Bowl ad begins with a "misdirect," typical of other spots in the
Life Comes at You Fast campaign, where viewers believe they are seeing an ad
for something else entirely before finding out they're watching a Nationwide
ad. Fabio floats on a gondola through the canals of Venice with his love
interest. A voice suggests that Fabio is introducing his own line of shampoo.
Just as viewers become convinced they are watching an over-the-top shampoo ad,
the gondola passes under a bridge and Fabio emerges as a 90 year-old man.
Viewers are let off the hook when Nationwide's Life Comes at You Fast slogan
appears on the screen.
"The Life Comes at You Fast concept was created to remind people that they
need to think about preparing for the future," said Steven Schreibman, vice
president of advertising and brand management for Nationwide. "We're using
humor and a celebrity to get people's attention and cut through the clutter
with a very serious message: You need to be prepared for life to change,
because change is inevitable."
This is the third consecutive year of the Life Comes at You Fast
advertising campaign, produced by T:M Advertising of Dallas, and Nationwide's
most aggressive brand advertising push ever. In addition to the Super Bowl,
Nationwide's 2006 ad buy will include 46 regional markets, national cable,
national internet and regional advertising during the Olympics. The Fabio spot
will be one of a series of new Life Comes at You Fast ads. This is the second
Nationwide ad to feature a well-known celebrity. Rapper M.C. Hammer was the
star of the 2005 campaign.
"I know from experience that Life Comes 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."
The Fabio ad will run during the third quarter of the Super Bowl and will
be available at after the television debut. Two other new
Life Comes at You Fast ads will air nationally during pre-game coverage on

Well - they certainly misdirected the webmaster - of course I was running for the computer by then! Wait until you see him with the shampoo!!! DROOL!!! Have a napkin handy!!!! Good Going Nationwide!!!!!

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Copyright © 2007Donamaie E. White
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I can answer a lot of your questions about Fabio

Remember that he is not on-line.

Remember that boxers or briefs is not an appropriate question.
(I would have to go look. I think he would object. Just a tad!)