5 Reasons Why I Hate The New “Brosurance” Ad

Earlier this week, a “Brosurance” ad was launched as part of the “Got Insurance” Project.  The project is part of the Thanks Obamacare campaign, created by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado Education.  According to their website, the goal is to educate everyone about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.  I checked out the ad after seeing mixed reviews from colleagues on Twitter.  I immediately hated it.

Here’s why:

1.  It is unoriginal.  “Got Insurance?” is simply a rip-off of the “Got Milk?” campaign tagline.  “Got Milk” has been around since the 1990’s and encourages the American public to consume more cows’ milk.

2.   It promotes unhealthy behaviors.  One unintended consequence of this campaign could be that the ad (featuring cool bros doing keg stands) promotes binge drinking as the norm for this population.  This norm is also promoted through the presence of red “keg cups” which appear in the bros hands, as well as surrounding them on the ground.  Binge drinking is associated with many public health problems from injuries to alcohol poisoning.

3.  It continues to brand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as “Obamacare”.  The widespread branding of ACA as “Obamacare” has negatively impacted public health’s ability to effectively communicate about the law’s benefits and features.  Aligning the healthcare law solely with the President’s name has created a polarizing effect among the American public along party lines.  As demonstrated earlier this month by Jimmy Kimmel, the use of both names to describe the law has created a lot of confusion.  Many Americans actually think they are two completely separate healthcare policies.

4.  Its success depends on people understanding “Bro”- a term with unclear meaning.  What exactly is a “Bro”?  Does it mean the same thing to all people?  In health communication, it is important that we test out our terminology with the target audience to make sure that we have a clear definition of words and don’t offend anyone with our materials.  Interestingly, NPR used twitter in June 2013 to crowdsource some definitions for “Bro”.  As you might expect, there was wide variation in responses.  In addition to there being racial implications of the word, it can apparently be associated with anyone from a Jock to a Stoner.

5. Its target audience is unclear.  According to multiple articles, the target audience for this campaign is 25 year old healthy males.  Does the image portrayed match that population?  I saw the image and thought it represented young college students at a party.  If I was a part of the target audience, I would be offended by this image.  It makes me wonder if the image and message (“Keg stands are crazy.  Not having health insurance is crazier.  Don’t tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills.”) were ever tested with the target population.  Many 25 year olds have serious responsibilities from careers to academics to families to debt.  This ad makes them all look like a bunch of idiots going on a bender.  But don’t worry!  “Obamacare” (and the American people) will be there to pay for any injuries suffered when these “Bros” inevitably hurt themselves after being dropped from a keg stand.  

What Do You Think?

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