As the trouble-plagued Obamacare rollout continues, Colorado’s health exchange is getting some bad press for a bizarre ad campaign it has been running encouraging young people to sign up for health insurance.
The ads run the gambit from sleazy to bizarre to just plain dumb.
Sleazy. Several of the ads promote “free” birth control by featuring young women with sleazy-looking guys or cardboard cutouts of actor Ryan Gosling. With captions like “let’s get physical,” the ads are so ridiculous a number of people initially thought they were parodies sponsored by Tea Party conservatives. They aren’t. They are actual ads someone in Colorado actually thought would get young adults to buy health insurance through the state exchange.
Bizarre. A few of the ads feature young children immediately before or after some sort of accident. One shows a little boy carving a Jack-o-Lantern; the caption begins, “He set out to carve the pumpkin. He ended up carving himself.” Another shows two smiling girls covered in blood and bandages after a soccer game. Sure, accidents happen, but these ads are just strange.
Dumb. Colorado’s “Brosurance” ad takes first place in the “Dumb” category. Featuring three college frat guys that look a little less than thirty years old, the ad reads, “Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier. Don’t tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills. We got it covered.” Another ad shows five young ladies prepared to throw back shots of alcohol. The caption reads, “Shotskis keep us happy. Flu shots keep us healthy. Saving money on flu shots leaves us more money for fun shots.”
As one commentator put it, “It’s hard to believe that an adult wrote that copy, let alone an advertising professional.”
These ads paint a pretty negative stereotype of adults under 30: They’re too broke from binge drinking to afford something as trivial as healthcare, or they’ll only buy health insurance if it’s tied to promiscuity. It’s offensive.
With all the problems plaguing the Obamacare rollout, poor advertising may be low on the list of concerns. Just the same, you have to wonder why state funding would be used on ads that are so obviously tasteless.