BLOOMINGTON, IL: State Farm has pulled an ad featuring anti-vaccine activist Rob Schneider after a social media campaign urged the insurance company to end its affiliation with the actor.
Social media pages Food Hunk, Science Babe, and Chow Babe, all of which refute pseudoscience claims, started the anti-Schneider campaign last week, questioning how a company that sells insurance could hire a celebrity spokesman so openly against vaccinations.
The activists have encouraged consumers with State Farm policies to get involved by contacting their agents and telling them that "someone who publicly states dangerous opinions should not be a spokesperson for a health insurance company."
The anti-Schneider campaign also included a video that encouraged supporters to post on State Farm’s Facebook and Twitter pages, using the hashtag #StateFarm when demanding it cancel Schneider’s contract.
"State Farm provides health insurance, and nothing ensures public health more than getting vaccinated," the video states. "It is time to end the anti-vaccination movement; with your help, we can elicit change."
Phil Supple, State Farm’s director of public affairs, told PRWeek that the company’s advertising is intended to inform and entertain, but Schneider’s ad had the opposite effect.
"[Schneider’s] ad has unintentionally been used as a platform for discussion unrelated to the products and services we provide," he said. "With that, we are working to remove the ad from our rotation at this time."
Supple did not elaborate on the company’s communications strategy.
On Sunday evening, State Farm changed the cover photo on its Facebook page from an image of Schneider to a generic image of various families. On Twitter, Schneider remained featured in the company’s cover photo as of press time.
Schneider had not yet responded publicly to advocates as of press time, but he retweeted a message from a supporter.
Here's a good place to show your public support for Rob Schneider. The trolls are in full force. http://t.co/kFbHzBmGPN
— Barb Loe, NVIC (@NVICLoeDown) September 20, 2014
State Farm’s spots with Schneider began airing at the end of August. They revived his "Richmeister" character from Saturday Night Live, which first appeared on the show 20 years ago. The campaign was created by DDB Chicago.