Needed: An Obamacare Doohickey

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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For every Obamacare health insurance policy you buy we’ll give a second policy to a needy geezer! Back in the early days of hybrid cars, when the Prius was starting to sell, some manufacturers (e.g. Honda) introduced hybrids that looked just like their regular cars. People presumably like the way regular cars look, or they wouldn’t look like that, so sales expectations for the normal-looking hybrids ran high. But they bombed. Why? It seems people who were in the market for hybrids weren’t just trying to save money and the planet–they wanted the world to know they were trying to save money and the planet. The strange-looking Prius did the job. Soon manufacturers were trying to add distinctive hubcaps or grills or bumpers to their hybrids in order to serve this “cueing” function.

This moment in automotive marketing came to mind when I read adwoman Judith Grey’s contrarian piece on the selling of Obamacare to young millennials. Obama desperately needs these kids to sign up. But even supporters concede that, unless they are lucky enough to qualify for subsidies,** young people won’t find the premiums on Obamacare’s exchanges to be any kind of bargain–since insurers are prohibited from charging the young more than a certain amount less than they charge the old.

How to sell non-bargain insurance to American youth, then? Grey thinks the existing ads, which tend to focus on “sexalcohol, and corny jokes,” won’t work. Instead of appealing to millenial’s sex drive, appeal to their causism. This is a trick, Grey notes, that ordinary capitalists have already discovered.

As MillennialMarketing.com, a website devoted to decoding millennial consumer habits and marketing trends, explains, millennials are “socially savvy consumers.” Idea brands such as Toms Shoes and Warby Parker prescription eyewear, whose business models include a strong philanthropic focus, appeal to them because “they invite participation…offer social value and align to a higher purpose.”

Grey even includes a mock up of an ad that makes such a straight up philanthropic pitch. It’s not bad!

But there’s a glitch, pointed out to me by an alert reader: When you buy Tom’s shoes, you can wear them and talk about them at a party that evening and bask in the glow of having done something good. Like a Prius buyer, you’re wearing your virtue for all to see and applaud. It might lead to alcohol, sex and corny jokes. But when you’ve bought a bronze Obamacare plan, how are people supposed to know?

What the Affordable Care Act’s panicked marketers need, it seems, is some kind of badge, doohickey, ribbon, amulet or distinctive coloration that those who’ve bought overpriced Obamacare policies can display to tell their peers they’ve done the right thing. Wear a plexor in your lapel? A blue ribbon around your wrist? Dye your thumb red? Maybe kausfiles readers have some ideas for what this viral welfare state MacGuffin might be. Please submit your designs and proposals to Mickey@dailycaller.com.

Whatever it is, it can’t be less effective than HHS’s excruciating Obamacare song.

P.S.: I suppose it’s too late for a string of Obamacare-themed coffee shops in hip neighborhoods?


**–Aren’t young buyers who don’t qualify for subsidies needed by Obamacare’s exchanges more than buyers who do? Not only don’t they require the subsidies, but you’d think they’d present lower risks to insurers. There’s something, after all, that has terrified insurers about the pool of previously uninsured who are now to be eligible for coverage on the exchanges. It might be something as simple as poor people being more prone to illness, no?