Funny or Die takes comedy to a new level, but the satirical website will get a crash course in healthcare as it gears up to promote the Affordable Care Act, serving as the White House’s mouth piece to convince young Americans to sign up for the law’s health insurance marketplaces.
The website, backed by former Saturday Night Live funnyman Will Ferrell, has been in talks with the White House to promote the healthcare law since July, joining Hollywood heavyweights like Amy Poehler and Jennifer Hudson. But as the Oct 1. launch date of Obamacare’s health insurance marketplaces looms, Funny or Die has upped its efforts, developing close to 20 projects to promote the Affordable Care Act, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In order for Obamacare to maintain its low-cost-premiums promise, 2.7 million young Americans between the ages of 18 and 35 must enroll in the law’s exchanges. But the White House has struggled to reach Millennials, combatting efforts by the GOP to defund the law and groups like Generation Opportunity, which plans to convince young people not to enroll in the marketplaces through a college bus tour and series of short videos. And that’s where “Funny or Die” comes in.
“The simplest way to put it was, they had spent all this time and energy and money on the biggest movie of their lives and had no marketing budget in which to promote it. I just thought that was the craziest thing I’d ever heard,” Mike Farah, the site’s president of production, told the Los Angeles Times.
Funny or Die signed up to help the White House, he said, because he knew “we’d do the work.”
The first of Farah and his team’s projects plans to go live Sept. 30, the day before Obamacare’s exchanges open for business. And though Farah did not divulge which celebrities Funny or Die teamed up with to promote the law, he did show the Los Angeles Times one video, which encourages young people to sign up for health insurance by featuring a series of ouch-worthy moments: a little girl’s tumble off a rocking horse, a skateboarder’s not-so-perfectly-executed trick and a boy’s failed attempted at a jump on his bike, which left him with his crashing to the asphalt.
“Valerie Jarrett loved this video,” Farah said.
But Farah and his Hollywood pals have their work cut out for them.
According to a new Rasmussen poll, 51 percent of likely voters would rather see the government shut down than keep Obamcare funded at current levels. And a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 44 percent of Americans think the law is a bad idea.
Couple negative polling with efforts from Generation Opportunity and right-leaning groups like Americans for Prosperity — which hosted telephone forums and town-hall meetings to block the healthcare law — and support for Obamacare is dwindling.
But the Obama administration isn’t lessening their efforts to reach out to young people. The Department of Health and Human Services launched a “Healthy Young America” video contest to encourage young people to enroll in exchanges, complete with more than $20,000 in prizes. And celebrities like Katy Perry and Jason DeRulo used their influence on Twitter to promote the Affordable Care Act, directing their more than 45 million combined followers to seek coverage.
Still, the true test will come in just seven short days, when Funny or Die will see just how far their influence reaches.