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Oregon Obamacare exchange pulls expensive hipster ads

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

The multimillion-dollar advertising campaign for the Oregon Obamacare exchange has been put on hold as officials there try to right the floundering ship and get people enrolled.

“We think it’s appropriate to hold off on any further advertising,” Bruce Goldberg, acting executive director of Cover Oregon, said at a Monday press conference according to the Northwest Watchdog, noting that most of the ads have been taken down except for several billboards.

Cover Oregon made headlines earlier this year for its, expensive, artistic television and radio ads that featured local musicians singing original songs about Oregon and healthy living to promote the state’s Obamacare exchange.

The ad campaign was featured in Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn’s 2013 ”Wastebook,” which chronicled the year’s top 100 most wasteful government-spending items.

“Oregon is spending $10 million advertising Obamacare with advertisements that don’t even mention the program or how to enroll in it. One of the television ads, produced by the Portland advertising agency North, Inc., does not mention the word ‘insurance’ or how or why to enroll in the program. Another Oregon ad does not mention the word ‘insurance,’ but features what appears to be Gumby riding on the Beatles’ yellow submarine,” the Wastebook, released this week, reads. “Between Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, however, just 44 residents were able to sign up for private insurance through Cover Oregon.”

A Cover Oregon spokesman told Portland’s KATU News Tuesday that to date the exchange has spent $8.3 million on the ad campaign — which as recently as October had its budget doubled from an initial budget of about $10 million to $21.4 million.

And while the ads might not be playing on television or radio any longer, the Cover Oregon artistic vibes continue to live online…

Watch a sampling:

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