'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. 

2 of 8

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.