After Aaron Rodgers admitted he not only was unvaxxed but also taking ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to treat a bout of COVID-19, a key sponsor announced it was standing by the Green Bay Packers star quarterback.
State Farm, in a statement that most major corporations should emulate in such a situation, announced on Monday that it was respecting the private medical choice of its longtime spokesman.
“Aaron Rodgers has been a great ambassador for our company for much of the past decade,” the company said in a statement to USA Today.
“We don’t support some of the statements that he has made, but we respect his right to have his own personal point of view. We recognize our customers, employees, agents, and brand ambassadors come from all walks of life, with differing viewpoints on many issues. Our mission at State Farm is to support safer, stronger communities. To that end, we encourage vaccinations, but respect everyone’s right to make a choice based on their personal circumstances.”
Conservatives rallied behind that comment.
But then came, as the late, legendary Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the insurance giant “aired far fewer commercials that featured Aaron Rodgers over the weekend after the NFL star recently divulged he was unvaccinated against Covid-19 and questioned vaccine effectiveness.”
“About 1.5% of the nearly 400 State Farm television advertisements aired on Sunday through 8 p.m. ET included Mr. Rodgers, compared with more than 20% the two Sundays prior,” the Journal reported, citing research by Apex Marketing Group, a Michigan-based ad tracking and consulting firm.
“State Farm ads featuring Mr. Rodgers also declined on Saturday, with Mr. Rodgers appearing in less than 2% of ads compared with 13% and 15%, respectively, the two previous Saturdays.”
The Journal added, “In prior weeks, State Farm ads featuring Mr. Rodgers appeared on NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS, among other national TV networks. This past weekend, they mostly appeared on specialized sports networks such as NBC Sports, Golf Channel, and Bally Sports.
Apex President Eric Smallwood told the Journal that “there was a substantial shift in removing the Rodgers spots.”
State Farm aired “no Rodgers-specific [ads] on network television,” and instead showed old commercials featuring Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
So State Farm took the courageous position – courageous, at least for the times we live in – but then found a way around its stand by keeping Rodgers but cutting his time on the tube by 90 percent.
Which, by the way, State Farm did not admit to doing.
“We constantly review our marketing strategies and adjust advertising placements,” a company spokeswoman blandly told the Journal when the paper asked if it purposefully played down Rodgers’ presence in light of the controversy.
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