'Between Two Ferns' and the 8 wackiest Obamacare ads targeting Millennials

The Affordable Care Act needs young adults to sign up for the program to work, but getting their attention has proved difficult, and strategists are getting desperate. Here are eight of the strangest pro- and anti-Obamacare ads targeting Millennials.

#Brosurance by ProgressNow Colorado

Ads like this from ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Council for Health Insurance garnered more than 23.5 million page views. But their actual impact on getting Millennials to sign up for Obamacare looks iffy.

When you think of the intersection between young people and insurance, what do you think? If you’re in Colorado, it appears that Obama marketers think bros, keg stands, hook ups, and shots.

Each of those factors was the subject of an extensive ad campaign launched by a partnership between ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Council for Health Insurance. Here’s a sample:

  • A college-aged man perched on top of a beer keg. The tagline: “Not sure how I ended up her perched on top of this keg. I could totally fall, but that’s OK. My budget will stay balanced even if I don’t, because I got insurance.
  • Three young women smile at the camera: "Just graduated! Waiting tables and having fun--we're in the real world now! We're pretty broke, so it totally rocked when we got help buying health coverage. We survive on ramen noodles and we got insurance. Now you can too."

These ads also included the hashtags “#brosurance” and “#gotinsurance”.

“One of the challenges of social media particularly [for young people] is to get their eyeballs for 10 seconds,” says Adam Fox, a spokesperson for the campaign. “If you’re lucky.”

The group hoped the ads would be provocative enough that digital-first natives would share the message with friends and family on social media. The two advocacy groups are knocking on doors, reaching out to young people at events, and presenting at conferences.

Did the ads work? It's hard to say whether they led to ACA signups directly, but Mr. Fox says the website where the images are housed had over 23.5 million hits as of February, in addition to social media shares. 

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