3 Things We Can Learn From the Obamacare “Brosurance” Marketing Wreck

A few months back, the Internet was a bit befuddled by the joint-marketing campaign of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now.

What they were trying to do was encourage young adults to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but what they ended up getting was a lot of angry Millenials and a marketing campaign that went silent only a few months after it went public.

Fortunately though, we have The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, who found the opportunity for a few laughs too good to pass up.

Recently, Jon Stewart and co. rekindled the flame of the Obamacare Brosurance marketing disaster with a report that highlighted how far off the marketing campaign was from reaching its target audience (i.e. Millennials).

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart might seem like the most unlikely of sources for some great HR tips, but it looks like that’s been proven wrong with this analysis. Here are three things we took away from the piece:

1. Don’t alienate your target audience

The last thing you want to do is make your target audience feel like you don’t understand them, because you’ll run the risk of coming off as disingenuous and offensive.

In terms of creating an employer brand, this can really turn away your target audience, especially the Millennials, who really value authenticity.

As one of interviewees said to Aasif Mandvi, “They’re basically portraying you as someone whose only goal in life is to sleep around”–in short, if it doesn’t speak to your target audience, then it doesn’t do you any good.

2.  “Not all publicity is good publicity”

Sure, being provocative may get people to talk about your brand, but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll want anything to do with it. In fact, you’ll probably end up losing more than you gain.

As one person said, “I was shocked that that was an actual insurance ad, advocating for falling off of kegs and getting really drunk.” In her case, the ad did nothing positive for her.

Apply that to an employer brand with a bad rap, and sure, people might talk about your company, but if it is not in a good light, then it’s doubtful that it will do you any good.

3. Make sure your message actually does its job before you send it to print

The most important thing of all is that you actually get your message across. As was the case with the brosurance ads, the goal was to encourage people to sign up for healthcare insurance. But as one girl put it, “I don’t think the ads answer any healthcare questions.” If no one understands what your message is, then you’ll just end up with pointless marketing and a big waste of time.

Marketing can do wonders for your company, whether it’s for your employer brand or for a company product, but if you don’t work through your marketing campaign thoroughly, you could end up in a wreck like the brosurance campaign. Take your time and make sure your marketing is foolproof. If you do, then chances are you’ll be in a much better position than the brosurance folks.