Between Two Ferns: POTUS “Bets Farm” to sell healthcare.gov
March 11, 2014
March 11, 2014
If you’ve logged on to any social media sites today, you’ve probably already seen President Obama’s conversation with Zack Galafianakis on his popular online interview show “Between two Ferns.” The show pits Galafianakis against celebrities and emulates the awkward style that has become his signature. This particular segment plugs healthcare.gov and is meant to give the President an opportunity to connect with Millennials who haven’t exactly jumped on the Affordable Care Act bandwagon.
It was a risky move for the leader of the free world, whose current “to do list” includes avoid war with Russia, stop spying on our allies , and end global warming. He faces potentially strong criticism from pundits, accusing him of ignoring the more important issues and making a joke out of solving the crippling costs of healthcare. As Politico put it “the [New York] Times is understating it: This isn't a ‘public relations gamble.’ It's betting the farm.”
But the question is, will the rewards outweigh the risk?
We’ve been saying for months that the administration isn’t doing enough to reach the “invincibles” – the healthy, young adults who make the Affordable Care Act work. When we work with clients to launch a new campaign, the first things we do is a) identify the audience and b) identify where that audience gets its news. Sharing your message is worthless if you are not reaching the right people to hear it. According to the Pew Research Center, the share of online adults who watch or download videos online grew from 69% of internet users in 2009 to 78% in 2013. So the President certainly got the medium right and he got the attention of the right audience…but is it too much?
Should our President – the person we trust to make the hardest of decisions, to keep us safe, and to represent us across the world – be subjecting himself and his reputation to an off-color series meant to embarrass celebrities?
I’m not going to lie, it made me laugh. What do you think?