On Strategy Messaging: Obama’s New Buzzfeed Video on the Healthcare Marketplace

Posted just 5 hours ago, Obama’s video promotion of the Healthcare Marketplace on BuzzFeed already got over 10 million views. It’s part of his outreach campaign using unconventional media outlets to target Millennials.

He’s of course being criticized by some as “non-presidential” for making silly faces and taking selfies in the video, and praised by others for being human, accessible, and real.

The real question is this: Is the video effective at its main job – which is getting people to Healthcare.gov to sign up for health insurance?

How to know: We always advise attaching communication objectives to every message. Determine 1) who your audience is, and 2) what you want them to think, feel, and do as a result of your message.

In this video, the audience is young uninsured Americans – mostly Millennials.

Communication objectives?

  • Obama wants them to think “I should check out Healthcare.gov soon, before the February 15th deadline.” This message was clearly, explicitly and repeatedly stated.
  • And he wants them to feel happy and a bit playful or openhearted – that’s where the presidential humor comes into play. Objective achieved (unless people were turned off by the humor and tuned out).
  • The “do” is to go online and explore the Healthcare.gov website. Again this message was verbally explicit and on target, though not visually reinforced. Creatively adding a visual reference to show the desired action – like Obama imagining hordes of people eagerly going to the online marketplace – may have made a great ad even better.

Well done, CMS and Team Obama!


Thanks to our good friends at Salter Mitchell for bringing this story to our attention.