A new set of Obamacare ads, brought to you by the embarrassing and odious “brosurance” campaign developed by ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, are causing controversy due to their strident tone. Of greatest concern is the way one ad in particular marginalizes women. The ad reads:
“OMG, he’s hot! 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.”
We get it – sex sells. That said, ProgressNow is part of a contingent that has screamed “war on women” for every Republican candidate misstep. For the group to, then, turn around and reduce women to sex organs and one night stands is hypocritical at best. Compass Colorado’s Kelly Maher issued a press release yesterday criticizing the ads:
“This ad campaign is desperately trying to distract from the fact that exchange sign-ups have essentially ground to a halt. While nearly a quarter of a million Coloradans have had their plans canceled, ProgressNow Colorado and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative are demeaning and belittling women with shallow sexual caricatures and making light of serious women’s health issues.”
The ads’ carefree demeanor seems particularly tone deaf in light of the fact that 250,000 Coloradans have lost their health insurance as a result of Obamacare. Unfortunately, the reach of these ads isn’t confined to Colorado as the uproar over the ads has gone national. Let’s be really clear: this is an embarrassment to our state.
Harsha Gangadharbatla, an associate professor of advertising at the University of Colorado at Boulder, also thinks the ads are misguided. Here’s her take in The Denver Post:
“I think it’s a strategic mistake. Consumers could see it as a joke, making it appear not to be a serious issue. And the issue of health care is clearly a serious issue in the United States. There’s already so many negative headlines and problematic issues out there with rollout of Obamacare, so why add fuel with ads like these, if the true intent is to enroll more young people.”
It’s also worth noting that Colorado exchange enrollment rate has decreased substantially since the Brosurance/Got Insurance campaign began October 20. So much for attracting would-be enrollees.