Why does Russell Wilson no longer shill for American Family Insurance?

Divorces are never easy. And that difficulty can be magnified when the split occurs in the spotlight, as it did for quarterback Russell Wilson and ex-corporate sponsor American Family Insurance.

The couple seemed to be going strong as recently as Superbowl XLVIII. Do you remember the commercial Wilson filmed for American Family Insurance back in early 2014?

If you did, good memory (just like Russell), because it hasn’t appeared on television for a while. And the reason is simple: Russell Wilson — continued existence of the Ask Russell app notwithstanding — is no longer an AFI brand ambassador. Their relationship ended on Dec. 31, 2014. And the Wisconsin State Journal tried — and failed — to find out why:

[AFI] declined to clarify any other specifics of the non-renewal, citing the company’s policy to not discuss details of contracts publicly for “competitive and confidentiality reasons.”

That wasn’t very informative. But that isn’t really surprising: as we all know, asking one side to explain a break-up isn’t going to get you very far, and it’s not like we can expect a respectable journalistic outfit to go digging for answers. Luckily, AFI doesn’t have to explain: we can figure out why on our own, by prying a little into another of Russell Wilson’s recent separations. Follow me.

As you may be aware, Wilson announced his divorce from Ashton Meme a year ago around this time. Very little about the circumstances of their separation has been released — and I’m leaving that one alone — but I do think it’s safe to say that their divorce led directly to Wilson’s disaffiliation from AFI. And no, I’m not just going to point out that after Russell divorced Ashton he no longer qualified as the member of an “American Family”.

It’s more straightforward, even, than that.

As this early-2014 article in the Chicago Business Journal explains, “Wilson developed a relationship with the insurance company while he quarterbacked the football team at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and his wife worked in AFI’s marketing department.” In other words, Wilson wasn’t hired back in 2013 because he was a Super Bowl champion quarterback (he wasn’t yet); he was hired because of, as Borat would say, “My wife”.

So it’s no surprise that after the divorce, she kept the gig and he did not. LinkedIn, take it away:

Ashton Meem

Luckily, Russell seems to have a strong support network and something tells me he is going to turn out fine even without one of his endorsements:


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