State Farm is ending its sponsorship of Penn State following the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, and it’s suing the Sandusky family to prevent a State Farm home insurance policy from paying their legal bills. Sherwin Williams and Cars.com have also pulled sponsorships at the college.Obviously, no advertiser wants their name linked with the worst scandal in NCAA history, and other advertisers are expected to follow.
But hold that thought: Several major advertisers have decided that despite a damning report from a former FBI director describing how coach Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, and vice president Gary Schultz acted to cover up Sandusky’s acts, they’re still happy to be on the Penn State bandwagon.
Those brands include PepsiCo, PNC Bank and Highmark Inc., a state health insurer. Here are their statements, per the Associated Press:
Pepsi spokeswoman Gina Anderson: “We are deeply disturbed by the findings of the investigation and the conduct of certain individuals at Penn State University, but will continue to honour our longstanding contract as a campus beverage provider,” the statement said.
PNC spokesman Fred Solomon stood by a previous statement: “[Our] ongoing engagement with the university signals our support of the students and traditions of Penn State. … We believe that the university will learn from this experience and become stronger.”
Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger: “Highmark’s partnership with Penn State is about health and wellness. We do have a sponsorship with the athletics program. While we routinely evaluate all of our sponsorships, we plan to continue at this time.”
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