"A sudden change in Federline's career could have been depicted with him holding an unemployment benefit check," said Annika Stensson, a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association. She fired off a scathing letter to Nationwide CEO Jerry Jurgensen for giving the impression that working in a restaurant is "demeaning and unpleasant."
"It shouldn't be necessary for a company to disrespect others to get its point across. It's an insult to the 12.8 million restaurant workers in America. It's a negative, unfair and inaccurate reflection. It's not Kevin we take issue with, but the depiction of where he ends up."
And workers at fast-food restaurants across the city agree, saying Federline should be the last one to judge their job choice because he married into money.
"It's not right," said Albert Salcedo, 18, who works full time at a McDonald's in New York City and is saving for college courses. "I work hard and I'm doing what I have to do to go to college. Everybody starts from the bottom, he just married into it. I do what I have to do to survive."
Another McDonald's server said she was furious that Federline — who was a delivery boy at Pizza Hut before meeting Spears at an L.A. club — made it seem like her job was hardly an accomplishment.
"There's a lot to the job — we have to be quick, keep it clean, keep it fast, keep the food hot," said Norma Ortiz, 18, who plans to study medicine at college in the fall.
"We deal with stressful customers and we have to have respect. I work and sweat hard."
Ortiz's co-worker Daniel Cruz, 18, a student, agreed.
"People don't all have the same lives. We aren't all rich," Cruz said.
A spokesman for Nationwide said the commercial is simply a "humorous take on one person's life."
"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," said Eric Hardgrove. "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."
Although companies tend to keep the concepts behind their Super Bowl commercials top secret until they air, Nationwide will premiere its ad early, next Monday, on its Web site.