I work in marketing. Every day my fellow team members and I are faced with new clients and new challenges as we seek to develop messaging that effectively reaches the decision makers at the other end. It’s important for any marketing professional to understand the audience he or she hopes to effectively reach, and speak that individual’s unique language.
Recently a group called "Enroll America"made a few marketing decisions of its own.
Chief among them was the choice to use singing pets—a cat, a bird, a turtle, a hamster and even a rapping pug—to get their message across.
The ad wasn’t pushing dog food, a veterinary clinic, or even a local animal charity.
It was directed at adults across America (mainly women, it appears), and its message—set to a foot-tappin’ boy-band beat—was clear: Sign up for health insurance.
That’s right. The commercial features pets of all shapes and sizes giving their respective owners a royal guilt trip for having not yet signed up for Obamacare. Did I mention the dancing birds, and the bunny on a turntable?
“Yeah yeaaaaah.” Or so the cat crooned.
My mother spent quite a few years as a teacher, and it was common practice for her to use colorful objects, catchy jingles, and other audio-visual aids to help her to effectively teach her students. Then again, she was teaching preschoolers.
This ad takes its place among a host of several state-run pushes for enrollment. From Cover Oregon’s parochial display (in which I’m pretty sure I spotted a yellow submarine) to my own home state’s MNSure commercial featuring the odd antics of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox (you don’t want to see the billboards), the message is the same:
Hurry up and sign up, or you’ll be locked out!
Wait—weren’t millions dying to be covered? Now that their chance is “here,” they must be coaxed?
The truth is, the law is junk. And the best way to sell junk is to make it as far away from the truth as is possible. It’s the oldest snake oil salesman trick in the book.
The reality is, however, that 5-plus million people (far more than those who have signed up) have lost their policies, and 80-plus million employer-insured individuals’ plans are predicted to be on the chopping block this next year. Still others—in the millions—are seeing massive premium hikes for the same or less coverage. Like the proverbial “cherry on top,” the Congressional Budget Office just came out with a report stating that “ something the White House and supporters were quick to spin as a “good thing.” Huh?
I suppose when you’re trying to get people to sign up for a coverage under a law with stats like this, the news is a little easier to break using Fido and other furry friends.
Part of me bristles: “Just how dumb do they think we girls are that they’d think a couple of cute animals would sway us?” Quickly I’m struck by another sentiment: “Just exactly how dumb must our [female] populous actually be for the creators of these ads to think they’d work?”
After all, it’s all about marketing. These ads are not an anomaly . . . they’re popping up all over the country, and they’re obviously catering to a perceived demographic. That’s a problem.
Incidentally, where are the feminists on the way these ads portray women? Take the one featuring a giddy young gal standing next to a smoldering Ryan Gosling—whom the ad makes clear wouldn’t otherwise be interested in her if not for her new-found access to birth control (thus giving him the green light to, well, you know). It doesn’t exactly scream “liberated female.”
[sharequote align="center"]And this entirely un-serious manner is how they’ve all chosen to push their solution?[/sharequote]
Some of these ads are cute, but grossly unserious. Indeed, Barack Obama and his proponents have spent years talking about what a serious predicament the health care situation is in this country. And this entirely un-serious manner is how they’ve all chosen to push their solution?
Matthew Lynch of the "Huffington Post" recently wrote a piece entitled 12 Reasons Barack Obama is one of the Greatest Presidents Ever. One of the more entertaining of the entries was the following:
He is for entertaining the masses. If we have to listen to a president yakitty-yak about this or that for another four years, we might as well pick one with charisma and charm . . .
Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster, but take heart! Our Obama is an entertainer, and his “yakitty-yak” is easier on the ears than the other guy’s yakkity-yak.
Or in this case, his administration’s (and state subsidiaries’) health care push is more entertaining than the alternative.
Maybe, just maybe, had we sought a leader of character, conviction, and integrity, we wouldn’t be watching our pets tell us to sign up for health insurance. We also probably wouldn’t be in our fifth straight year of a stagnant economy, increasing global threats, and a diminishing of the American dream.
I urge you to think about real character and real substance . . . not emotion . . . not appearances . . . not joviality . . . the next time you enter a ballot box. Your future will thank you.
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