In order to work properly, ObamaCare's health care exchanges need to enroll a large percentage of younger Americans. So-called "young invincibles" are generally healthier and have lower health care costs, so they offset the higher costs of adding older, less healthy folks to the marketplace.
Though reports of a pending ObamaCare death spiral — in which not enough young people sign up and cause the market to implode — appear to have been greatly exaggerated, ObamaCare supporters at the state and federal level are making a concerted push to attract this crucial demographic.
So how do you market ObamaCare to millennials? Here are 11 attempts:
California is using famous people —Amy Poehler, Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga, and Olivia Wilde, among many others — to pitch ObamaCare in an extensive ad campaign called "Tell a friend — Get covered." In one spot, an Obama stand-in impersonates Snoop Lion, née Dogg, with a health care-themed "Drop it Like It's Hot" parody. The song is, as you'd expect, kind of corny. ("Your options are really wide — sprizzead.") But hey, points for effort.
Other campaign videos include Obama "singing" Lady Gaga, a fake Parkour contest, and a Scandal parody featuring Jennifer Hudson.
Cool workout gurus
This one also comes from the above campaign, but is worth singling out. It features fitness guy Richard Simmons — whose fro makes him something of a proto-hipster — participating in a dance-off while an MC peppers the action with slogans like "get covered — hashtag get covered." The campaign "feature[s] content that resonates among millennials and that can be spread by millennials to their friends and loved ones," said Covered California Director Peter Lee.
ObamaCare supporters in Washington, D.C., took their message to the streets long line outside a couple of Footlocker stores in December. The reason? Nike's Air Jordan 12 "Taxi" sneakers were going on sale, which meant unsuspecting customers waiting in line had a little time to talk about health care. "My motto is 'Get them health care while you get them Jordans,'" a DC Health Links representative told Fox News.
DC Health Links members also stopped by a local Denny's between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. because, they said, that's "where the young people visit after a night out."
Cool provincial folklore
"Minnesota: land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance," goes a tagline for MNSure, the North Star state's exchange program. Minnesota is spending $9 million on an ad campaign centered around local legend Paul Bunyan, who can be seen ice fishing, water skiing, and visiting a perplexed doctor.
Cool music festivals
Connecticut's Access Health CT is planning to sponsor some summer concerts — Robin Thicke, Fallout Boy — and to give away tickets to events like Disney on Ice. Meanwhile, Washington Healthplanfinder is sponsoring the big Sasquatch music festival, right alongside more fest-centric companies like Red Bull and Bud Light. That makes sense: if you're going to chug a ton of energy drinks and cheap booze, you should probably be prepared to receive imminent medical attention.
Cool keg stands
Turning "super sick" into a pun, Colorado's ObamaCare officials released some ads targeting college bros. The "brosurance" ads — part of a larger "Got Insurance?" campaign — featured stock photo dudes doing all sorts of stereotypical dude stuff: yelling, drinking, sporting backwards hats, drinking more, and so on.
Remember Pajama Boy? He was part of the Obama administration's early effort to get people signed up before last year's late-December deadline for obtaining coverage that kicked in Jan. 1.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 17, 2013
Pajama Boy is most remembered, though, for all the backlash he inspired among those on the right who thought he was emblematic of wussy, entitled Obama voters. PJ Boy was an "insufferable man-child," wrote National Review's Rich Lowry, who was "probably reading The Bell Jar and looking forward to a hearty Christmas meal of stuffed tofurkey."
Cool twee Americana
Oregon, of course, launched a "Long Live Oregon" campaign with ads that resemble Portlandia sketches. Yet when Oregon's insurance marketplace failed miserably out of the gate, the state scrapped the ads.
Cool sports stars
Though the NBA and NFL declined a White House invite to help sell ObamaCare to fans, individual players and teams have taken up the call. The Baltimore Ravens, for one, are marketing Maryland's state-run marketplace. And at the administration's urging, some players tweeted boilerplate messages of support during the Super Bowl, too.
— Brendon Ayanbadejo (@brendon310) February 2, 2014
— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 2, 2014
Cool sports legends
Not content with current athletes, the White House also enlisted hoops icons Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning in a new ad campaign. These ads may actually be the most effective of the bunch. Mourning talks about how he felt "invincible" until a routine physical revealed a kidney disease. And though Johnson doesn't talk specifically about HIV, his health history is so well-known it can't be lost on viewers.