Unconventional Marketing

Buzzfeed, an American Internet news media company that has grown to become a global media and technology company, creates comical, yet highly relatable videos on a variety of topics, including politics, business, DIY, and lifestyle. Recently, this fervor has reached President Obama himself. On February 12th, a video entitled “Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About” was published, and featured President Obama. This unusual video appearance was, however, not solely for comedic purposes.

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In the video, the President is seen using a selfie stick, a hand held camera extender, to take multiple pictures of himself at different angles; he also makes a “thanks, Obama” joke when his cookie does not fit in a glass of milk. The scene is followed by the President flashing several facial expressions in front of a (rather dirty, if you ask me) mirror, trying on a pair of sunglasses, and making “you’re looking good” gestures. Lastly, he plays pretend basketball, practicing his three-pointers when a supposed employee enters the room, confused. To this, he replies with a resigned “Can I live?”. Sure, all these can be pretty humorous and funny, especially since it’s the President himself doing all this, however, the comedic element stops there. Arousing a large amount of controversy, President Obama is shown rehearsing his statement encouraging citizens to apply for Obamacare in front of the same mirror he was previously in front of. Calling for people to  enroll before the deadline, February 15, for less than $100 a month, the President has brought himself the question of “Why is he doing this?”

And that is a very good question, indeed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the President will be joining various Youtube comedians (although that would be a very interesting thought), rather, he is marketing for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”. The video was posted three days before the deadline to enroll, February 15, and it has garnered almost 2.6 million views within the first two hours of the video being online. By appealing to the masses through relatable and comedic means, President Obama hopes to garner support for his health care.

This method of marketing has brought lots of controversies: opposers simply mark this as “goofing off”, charging that he is only phoning in his last year of office. On the other hand, supporters have been bringing up old photos of former President Reagan walking around Disneyland with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, claiming that the video is not as demeaning. But we can only leave it to the numbers to prove the true worthiness of the videos: as of March 2015, 16.4 million have enrolled, more than double the 8 million from 2014’s enrollment. Although unconventional and controversial, President Obama’s appearance in the Buzzfeed video has helped him garner even more support for Obamacare.

To see the video: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1631492713658271

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