DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a new round of ads encouraging young people to enroll in Colorado’s new health insurance exchange, but they’re not without controversy for the way they depict young adults.
The pro-Obamacare ads were specifically created for social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter where younger generations get their information.
“Here they have people exercising with wine glasses, I don’t know, it just seems kind of dumb,” Colorado resident Hal Knight said.
“Got Insurance?” The controversial pro-Obamacare ads play off the famous “Got Milk” campaign, but focus on sex, birth control and drinking for the millennial.
Katie Murray, 25, is the target audience.
“I guess I’m more responsible than the people pictured in this photo,” Murray said.
The nonprofit groups behind the campaign, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now, say social media sites are how they’re reaching those who lack insurance most – 19- to 34-year-olds. Their website has been overwhelmed with traffic.
“A lot of traffic and it’s slowed down and eventually crashed very briefly before we can get it back online and functioning again,” Adam Fox with Colorado Consumer Health Initiative said. “So we know that it’s getting a lot of attention and people are visiting it.”
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“Seems kind of shallow, more like high school,” Knight said. “Health insurance; were trying to promote being healthy and this is the opposite.”
In Denver, more than 26 percent of the target audience lack insurance. Dr. Bill Burman, director for Denver Public Health, says the ads are edgy, but may offend.
“Connoting vaccinations with shots of alcohol is problematic. I wouldn’t have done that,” Burman said. “Shots of alcohol have all kinds of problems with them. Vaccinations are plain and simple the most cost-effective public health intervention there is.”
“I don’t know if you want to have this type of message alongside something as serious as health care,” Murray said.
The group behind the ads say they had a small budget to work with — only $5,000. They measure the campaigns success by website hits, “likes” on Facebook and re-tweets.