Get Ready for the Obamacare Ads

John Krautzel
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Political ads are nothing new for seasoned professionals in the advertising market, but government-subsidized healthcare is a major change for many Americans. Obamacare ads have begun to appear on television and in print—many of them seem to have rubbed conservatives and sensitive groups the wrong way. These ads may be able to teach a lesson to new advertising professionals, and Obamacare ads may also represent a new opportunity for experts to put their talents to use by helping others understand the Affordable Care Act in a simple and catchy method.

Early Obamacare ads were often focused on young couples starting out for the first time. Ads for Obamacare insurance plans produced by liberal political action groups often put the most controversial parts of the plan front and center. These Obamacare ads focused on contraceptive aids and other birth control methods. They often included messages about enjoying drinking with friends, as in the case of the keg stand ads, or messages that seemed to promote promiscuity by focusing on casual sex and easy access to contraception. While some groups believed this method to be a success due to its ability to get people talking about Obamacare insurance options, experienced advertisers can likely see how it fueled detractors as much as it may have encouraged supporters.

Later Obamacare ads appeared at the end of 2013 with a new focus. The focus on families showed children who had apparently become injured through sports or playing with friends and stressed the importance of having insurance to help cover such issues. Appealing to parents with images of oddly smiling, yet bloody and injured, children is another faux pas that savvy experts are likely to avoid. While such images may well leave an impression on viewers that will generate discussion, it may not have the desired effect. Many groups opposed to the Affordable Care Act seized on the continuation of potentially offensive ads.

Going into 2014, Obamacare ads have taken a decidedly different approach. Ads on or around Super Bowl Sunday generated a greater amount of buzz with their focus on young women. Generation Y and Millennial women are likely to need health insurance as they age, and the market is a good choice for supporters of the Affordable Care Act. The new ads place the emphasis on primarily female pet owners of the ages that fall into these groups, and they are sponsored by the nonprofit advocacy group Enroll America. These ads use a love of pets to show how and why health and insurance are important.

Skilled advertising specialists have seen similar ad pushes before, and the market may be ripe for advertising experts to show their abilities and help political groups on both sides of the Affordable Care Act create informative and useful ads. The latest batch of ads seems to focus more on education over shock value, which may be a good sign for Obamacare ads and the push to get the word out about healthcare enrollment before the 2014 sign-up deadline of March 15.



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