Most Bizarre Ad Campaign Ever

Obamacare Ad

The above ad is, apparently, part of a campaign to get younger people to sign up for health insurance:

A new round of advertisements unveiled by supporters of Colorado’s health insurance exchange has ignited controversy that rippled through social media Tuesday and launched debate over their portrayal of women.

In one of the most discussed “Got insurance?” ads, produced by the liberal ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, a young woman holds a packet of birth-control pills and stands next to a young man, his hand wrapped around her waist.

So what’s she thinking?

“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,” read the words in the risqué advertisement.

While the groups say the aim is to encourage young people to enroll in the state’s new health insurance exchange — a pillar to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — some have said it belittles women. It also adds to the partisan back-and-forth over the new health care law.

The enrollment of young adults is pivotal to the new law because, say White House officials, they tend to have low anticipated medical costs and can keep insurance premiums lower.

Other advertisements in the campaign, which began in October, feature young people doing keg stands and downing shots from a “shot ski.”

Amy Runyon-Harms, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, defended the advertisements.

“The whole intention of these ads is to raise awareness, and that’s what we’re doing. It’s great that more and more people are talking about it,” said Runyon-Harms, who notes the ads only appear on social media and will not, for example, be displayed on billboards or buses.

A spokesman for Connect for Health Colorado, the state-run health care exchange, which is not associated with the ad campaign, declined to comment.

Apparently, the State of Colorado doesn’t want to be associated with an ad campaign based on the premise that young women were concerned with nothing but hooking up. up and that life is great as long as you’ve got free birth control. Who would’ve thought that?

The more important question is what makes this group “ProgressNow Colorado” thinks that they’re actually going to convince anyone to do anything except, perhaps, go to the bar tonight to see what kind of action there is.

FILED UNDER: Healthcare Policy, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    The only bizarre part of the ad is the guy – she can do better than that.

    I wonder if people who are offended by this ad might also be offended by the number of male ED ads (Cialis, etc.) that are televised into our homes these days? One might get the impression that all middle aged men care about is hooking up?

    I have no problem with encouraging the use of birth control, nor with including it in health insurance coverage.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Wow. Just, Wow.

  3. @al-Ameda:

    I suppose I find the ad stupid rather than offensive, but then I’m not a 20-something woman who is apparently being told that the best thing in the world is free birth control.

    Also, based on the look of that guy the woman in question ought to be more worried about condoms than the pill.

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Doug, considering how every single other aspect of ObamaCare has gone Epic Fail, why would this surprise you?

  5. John Burgess says:

    @al-Ameda: ED drugs aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or most private health insurance policies. It’s an out-of-pocket expense.

    I suppose, if one squinted just the right way, you could see that as a form of subsidizing birth control through not subsidizing that which leads to birth…

  6. rodney dill says:

    …making women look shallow is just part of the Democratic Party war on women

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Silly ads…the list is perpetually long.
    I guess I’m most curious about your choice to highlight these ads…but not the Republican/Koch Bros. funded ads telling young folks to be irresponsible and not purchase insurance.
    I would argue that those ads go beyond silly, and are dangerous and costly to all of us.
    Clearly you are only interested in soothing your ODS.
    You and Jenos…brothers of the same affliction…can have a nice chat.

  8. JKB says:

    Counter ad – Both she and him doing the math to see how much that “free” birth control costs compared to buying it on the open market.

  9. @C. Clavin:

    As you may remember since you commented on it, I did a post about those ads when they came out.

  10. C. Clavin says:
  11. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    My bad…short term memory loss.

  12. JKB says:

    “Free birth control! Now I can afford to take that internship with Bill Clinton”

    “Free birth control with every purchase of overpriced Obama-approved “insurance.” Because I’m like a daughter to Obama and he doesn’t want me punished with a baby”

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Why do you say it’s overpriced?

    (And yeah, who was the 40-year old bozo in the ad agency that coughed that hairball up?!)

  14. Pinky says:

    * The pill doesn’t protect you from STD’s, condoms and common sense do that.

    Yeah, but Susie and Nate don’t appear to be using either of them.

  15. bandit says:

    Hand it to them – they know their target audience – brain dead losers looking for handouts

  16. KM says:

    Like every authority group trying to appeal to youth they don’t understand and be “hip”, they come off looking like idiots. Just like your parents did with outdated slang in a effort to be cool. Like certain politicians trying to rap. Like a creepy Uncle Sam caricature trying to be Burger King’s evil basement-dwelling perv cousin. Like a cartoon dog telling to Take a Bite Out of Crime. And of course there are the eternal – “Stay in school, kids!” and “Don’t Do Drugs!” in the hokiest voice you can do.

    Poor advertising, perhaps. But then again, have you seen some of the ads on TV nowadays?

  17. MM2 says:

    I think the fact that literally everyone who has fretted over this ads is either willfully pretending that they aren’t tongue-in-cheek or are actively trying to hide the fact that they are tongue-in-cheek. One of them has guys doing a kegstand. Another has women carrying a cardboard cut out of Ryon Gosling and references the “Hey Girl” meme, yet another has women working out while drinking wine.

    The ad isn’t saying that young women are easy. It’s poking fun at the idea that birth control pills are some sort of women’s slut pill. Now, are the ads going to be successful? I have no idea. Edgy is very difficult to pull off, especially when commentators pretend not to understand. This may end up being a failed attempt at informing young people about the exchanges. But it’s either ignorance or deceit to take the text or imagery of these ads as being in any way serious.

  18. JKB says:


    Well, at least this ad isn’t intentionally misleading. In the others, they imply that paying for healthcare won’t cut into the “beer money” or money for “fun shots”. Wait till these partiers get their jacked up premiums for Obamacare.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: How do you know that their premiums will be jacked up?

    Data please, not predictions.

  20. MM2 says:

    @JKB: You do know that these are paid models, right?

  21. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @grumpy realist: Because The Oracle at Breitbart told him so.

  22. JKB says:

    @grumpy realist:How do you know that their premiums will be jacked up?

    Data please, not predictions.

    It is the basic premise of Obamacare that the young and healthy pay higher rates, i.e., jacked up rates.

  23. KM says:


    It is the basic premise of Obamacare insurance in general that the young and healthy pay higher rates,


  24. JKB says:

    @KM:It is the basic premise of insurance in general that the young and healthy pay higher rates,

    Not in health or life insurance. Lower risk, lower rates. Unless the government forces premium equalizing

  25. Pinky says:

    @JKB: Exactly. The purpose of insurance is to pool risk, not redistribute wealth. The more we confuse the two, the less sense the law and the insurance system will make. That’s why we should be talking about this as health care reform, not as health insurance reform.

  26. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: I think the question is how large a group are you doing the pooling-of-the-risk over.

    What some of us want is to dump everyone in the same risk pool and have more or less equal payments. The feeling is that yes, you’re over-paying when you’re young, but you’ll get that back when you get old (and really need it.)

    The other alternative is cohort by age. Which is why Medicare got started in the first place, because old people weren’t able to get health insurance except at incredibly high prices.

    Of course, we could fine-tune it even further. Smoker/non-smoker, how much do you weight, what’s your diet/exercise. We can even number-crunch further, based on the “bad genes” you have in your DNA.

    At some point you’re negating the idea behind health insurance in the first place. So where do you draw the line?

    I also notice that the same young fart who complains about having to shoulder the burden of all those old geezers invariably turns into the old fart who complains about having to shoulder all the burden by himself and why don’t those young whippersnappers help out?

  27. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist: What I’d like to see is catastrophic health insurance available to all. Prescription benefits are ridiculous; everyone pays $105 a month and gets $80-$130 of benefits. That’s not insurance, because there’s no pooling of risk. It’s like getting gasoline insurance for your car to pay for each fill-up. Coliision insurance makes sense, because that’s where a large cost can be incurred. If you want to have a social program that gives people health care benefits, then do it, but don’t call it insurance.

    The complication here is that preventative care lowers the odds of a major health care expense. But there are other methods of encouraging people to seek preventative care.