President Barack Obama appeared on Zack Galifianakis’ Funny or Die web-series Between Two Ferns early Tuesday morning to discuss the Affordable Care Act. The move is the latest in a series of appeals made by the Obama Administration to get young Americans to sign up for health insurance by the March 31st deadline.
Between Two Ferns is shot as a low-budget talk show where the host and guest often trade barbs with one another. This didn’t change when Obama visited the set.
Some highlights include:
Galifianakis asking, “Why would you get the guy who created the Zune to make your website?” (Referring to Healthcare.gov)
“What is it like to be the last black president?” To which Obama replies: “Seriously? What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talked to a president.”
“So how does this work? Do you send Ambassador Rodman to North Korea on your behalf?”
Obama freely admits during the video that he would not be on the show unless he had something to plug – in this case Healthcare.gov.
The Obama administration has often been cited as being extremely adept at using social media to their benefit. Just take a look at their Twitter strategy during the last Presidential election. However, this current push is not just on social media.
The administration has rolled out the red carpet of PR tactics in an attempt to bolster sign-ups and raise public approval of the law, which currently has a 39 percent approval rate. In the past few months alone it has enlisted a bevy of celebrity endorsements.
More recently, First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, followed by Vice President Joe Biden on Late Night with Seth Meyers in the same week. An ad campaign starring NBA legends Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning has been making its rounds on major sports networks during NBA games in locations with a high concentrations of uninsured Americans. It wouldn’t be surprising to see even more national spots online and on TV in the next few weeks.
While Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns is humorous it represents a fundamental shift in how politicians in general communicate with the country. Obama already has an enormous pull; being the President anything he says or does is immediately national and often international news. But for most young Americans – a key demographic targeted for Health Care signups – this news doesn’t reach them. The Administration has wisely opted to go for the “viral” campaign in an attempt to filter through the noise and reach its target demographic. The video has already made headlines with all of the major news organizations and is trending worldwide on Twitter.
By parsing his message with humor, Obama has increased his message’s reach exponentially. However, the success of these tactics will only be able to be measured after March 31.
Check out the video below and let us know your thoughts on the Administration’s promotion tactics in the comments sections, or on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google + pages.