Commentary

Obama's Last Keg-Stand: Thank You, Colorado

These “Bro-surance” ads first surfaced three weeks ago, under the auspices of The Colorado Consumer Health Inititative and ProgressNow Colorado to bring attention to their website.

Please excuse me -- I’m going to bro-mit.

To me, the whole thing --from the subgrammatical “do you got” to the triad of brazen, fist-pounding idiots on the keg stand -- screamed parody, as if it had to be the work of the Onion or the writers on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Short of parody, perhaps it was something scarier. After all, basing a contemporary ad campaign on a take-off of “Got Milk?” has only been done maybe 10 million times, even by those with no awareness of American advertising or the English language.

Could it be the work of German or Eastern European dissidents getting us back for the NSA scandal?

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Certainly, the open-mouthed homunculi shown in the ads (especially the one wearing a version of Old Glory on his shorts) could easily pass for what a non-American thinks of the worst of wild-and-crazy USA frat-boy culture.

Or, closer to home, could it be a brilliant scam by a secret Tea Party organization masquerading as the Colorado Health Exchange?

Really, how could pro-ACA ads possibly try to sell us on points that play so aggressively into all the anti-Obamacare  “entitlement” hysteria?

“Keg stands are crazy. Not having insurance is crazier. Don't tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills. We got it covered” reads the body copy for the first.

That’s followed by the even-less-believable ad showing similarly low bro-i-ness, with the body copy “ Yo Mom, do I got insurance? My girlfriend broke my heart, so me and the bros went golfing. Then my buddy broke my head. Good thing my mom made sure I got insurance."

Making sure you’re covered so that you can still pay for copious beer and golf outings so trivializes the genuine need for health care that it’s hard to believe these were ads not written by Rand Paul.

But sadly, they are for real. And unfortunately, now they have a sister act. Last night, a new flight of ads was released, including the worst one yet.  Et tu, bro-te?

gotinsurance

Called "Let's Get Physical,” the ad shows characters named "Susie" and "Nate" over the words  "Hot to Trot." Susie gives us a demonic look as she extends a vigorous thumbs up while holding a container of birth control pills wide open, like her mouth.

"OMG, he's hot!" the ad reads. "Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. I got insurance."

I appreciate that the creators of the ad wanted to show women as independent, sexual beings. And certainly, one of the selling points is that the insurance companies can no longer think of being female as a “pre-existing condition.”

But this set-up plays right into the hands of all the misbegotten thinking of Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke last year. Remember, she wanted birth control to be covered by insurance, and he recast it as wanting someone “to pay for her to have sex,” and from there got to talking about prostitution

Young women also use birth control for myriad other health reasons, having nothing to do with preventing pregnancy. To show it as a way to justify the random pickup of man meat comes right out of that same, douchy bro-culture playbook as all the rest of the ads—she’s just another drunken, sex crazed bro, yo. (Or as many on Twitter have already branded her, a “ho.”)

That’s ironic. By trying to be pro-sex, the ad brings out the oldest woman-hating move there is: slut-shaming.

I give these ads a scarlet letter “F.” Really, they are an embarrassment to any evolved human being and a pathetic pander to millennials, who deserve better. 

14 comments about "Obama's Last Keg-Stand: Thank You, Colorado".
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  1. Aarona Jordan from Channel One/Alloy, November 13, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.

    Bravo BL, expose this SHAM posing as insight- TAR & FEATHER these so called "creatives" too ignorant to realize the underlying messaging shows how disconnected they are.

  2. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, November 13, 2013 at 2:53 p.m.

    You never actually said who did the work. Names changed to protect the guilty? I'm still not convinced this isn't an elaborate hoax.

  3. Paul Van winkle from FUNCTION, November 13, 2013 at 3:10 p.m.

    We've evidently reached that wrenched place where Poe's Law and Advertising are colliding, working in tandem. Whereby it's become virtually impossible to create a parody of extremism, fundamentalism or hyper-segmentism that someone won't mistake for the real thing. Or vice versa. Barbara, this is the finest use of "homunculi" I've ever seen, to convey just how small the minds were that rendered this franken-bastard of 'understanding your audience." Qué horror.

  4. dave alpert from pmd, November 13, 2013 at 3:16 p.m.

    Have not seen the keg spot(s) so I can't comment. But the print ad displayed here - you have got to be kidding. Everything BL says in the review is true - this is red meat for every anti-ACA group out there. Thank you Obamacare for making it easier for me to get laid? OMG! This is what you get when you let interns do the creative on your low-budget accounts. Please follow up on these. I can't believe they won't be pulled as soon as they go up.

  5. dave alpert from pmd, November 13, 2013 at 3:18 p.m.

    "So now all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers?" Can you imagine if the guy was holding a box of condoms and saying the same thing? Something off here. Something very off.

  6. dave alpert from pmd, November 13, 2013 at 4:06 p.m.

    Jonathan Hutter - not a hoax. In fact, there is an article about these ads in today's NY Post. How did they get this creative approved? Beyond me.

  7. Carri Bugbee from Big Deal Digital, November 13, 2013 at 4:22 p.m.

    I'd love to know the gender make-up of the agency team. It's VERY hard to imagine that women would find the birth control ad palatable, let alone persuasive.

  8. Barbara Lippert from mediapost.com, November 13, 2013 at 4:50 p.m.

    Jonathan Huutter-- one of the brainchildren was Adam Fox, director of engagement for Colorado Consumer Health. He explained to local news outlets that the people in the ads are mostly his friends and fellow graduates of Pacific University, class of 2007.
    Not one cent of media placement money-- all online and viral.

  9. Terry Nugent from MMS, November 13, 2013 at 5:08 p.m.

    This ad indicates two things:

    First the creative are perhaps using themselves as a focus group, forgetting the varied values of their target market (unless they assumed anyone not sharing the values presumably reflected in the creative brief were outside their target audience for political reasons).

    Second, it shows an unforgivable political naivete. This ad should be a gift to Obamacare opponents that will resonate with politically independent parents.

    There were hundreds of alternative approaches to this creative choice, virtually all of which should have been chosen before this.

  10. Christina Ricucci from Millenia 3 Communications, November 13, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.

    So the woman is thankful that she can get a $10 pack of birth control pills for the three or four hundred dollars a month she pays in health insurance premiums? nobody thought of something which actually costs big money, like a mammogram or screening for ovarian or uterine cancer? No, I get it, that wouldn't be sexy or funny or controversial; people wouldn't be talking about it over the water cooler. I guess ultimately you have to speak to people on the level they understand -- which in our society today is apparently this kind of language.

  11. George Parker from Parker Consultants, November 13, 2013 at 6:49 p.m.

    This made me want to "Ship my pants." But first I had to run out for "Big Gas." You don't need interns to produce shit work.
    Cheers/George "AdScam" Parker

  12. Carolyn Hansen from Hacker Group, November 13, 2013 at 9:30 p.m.

    This is so unbelievable it's already made Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/gotinsurance.asp

  13. dave alpert from pmd, November 14, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.

    Having thought about this for a while, I'm thinking that this ad is a good reflection of Gen X and Y thinking. (And I am assuming that these ads were written by people under 35.) There is a narcissistic skew here. Whoever wrote and approved these ads was saying, "I think this is funny, cute, whatever and don't really give a shit about the LARGE perecentage of the population - including some of my peers - that may find it offensive. Nor do I care about the fact that it might actually become a MAJOR talking point for ACA opponents. I WANT TO RUN IT! SO THERE!"

  14. Erik Sass from none, November 14, 2013 at 11:51 a.m.

    These are ludicrously, execrably bad. The whole ACA roll out is proving to be a gigantic cluster fudge, excuse my French. BTW, conservative agent provocateur James O'Keefe has pulled one of his "stings" with really damaging video of Obamacare "navigators" telling people how to lie to lower their premiums and get subsidies. I'm sure we'll all be hearing more about that.

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