Even the healthiest bros need health insurance.
That's the message of a new social media campaign that uses keg stands and other guy stuff to persuade young men to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
Or, as one ad calls it: "Brosurance."
"Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier," it says next to a photo of three hard-partying guys, described as "bros for life."
"The feedback, especially on Twitter, has been kind of off the charts, and I think we are surprised to see the Brosurance ad take off quite as much as it did," said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement at the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), which helped create the ads.
The "got insurance?" campaign is an irreverent spoof of the iconic "got milk?" ads. It's a collaboration between CCHI and ProgressNow Colorado Education, two nonprofit advocacy groups involved in promoting enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.
There are eight ads so far, aimed at different groups in Colorado. But it's the Brosurance meme that's gone viral.
The term "Brosurance" got 6 million mentions on Twitter in the first 30 or so hours after the campaign was launched, while "got insurance" got 1.7 million, according to Jason Stein, founder and president of Laundry Service, a New York-based social media agency.
Another popular ad, titled "Club Med," reads, "Yo, Mom, do I got insurance? My girlfriend broke my heart, so me and the bros went golfing. Then my buddy broke my head."
"We're trying to inject a little bit of humor and do something that would grab a little bit of attention on social media, which is always a challenge," Fox said. "You kind of have to speak to them where they're at."
The ads are intended to be fun, but attracting young people to buy health insurance is serious business. The so-called young invincibles, healthy people between the ages of 18 and 35, are key to making Obamacare work. That's because the premiums that healthy people pay help cover the costs of sicker people in the system.
But getting young people's attention isn't necessarily the same as getting them to buy in.
"Does this get people to sign up, to click and buy?" questioned Laundry Service's Stein. "Stuff like this, where it's a meme and it's an awareness play, your guess is as good as mine."
The "got insurance?" ads are a do-it-yourself campaign, produced with a small budget, private photographer and volunteer models. But Fox said they're hoping to feature celebrities in future spots, just as the "got milk?" ads do.
Meanwhile, the team has more ads ready to hit social media next week, this time for women.
"What we're looking at doing is really trying to play up some of the aspects of the law that really do benefit women: having access to co-pay, free birth control," Fox said. "We're going to be doing that in a creative way, for sure."