The Affordable Care Act has faced many challenges from its inception, fighting partisan spin and revision as it finally passed into law. Opponents remain fierce and determined to recall the measure, citing increased costs and gaps in coverage. What has battled for years to exist, now must battle to be adopted and respected by the citizens of the United States.
In response to fear, misinformation and opposition, Obama’s famous marketing team has set branding direction unlike anything ever seen from any administration: Celebrity endorsement of Affordable Health Care Plan.
Does the use of celebrity endorsements and slick ad campaigns make a difference to the much-needed young and healthy segment of the population who must join in order to balance the program costs?
Or, will it end up being “lipstick on a pig” that creates an additional cost burden on an already taxed economy?
In the United States, we’ve already seen our primary broadcast channels move from news to entertainment, watering down the quality and quantity of information and unbiased content and leaving a mockery of trust in journalism.
Does the use of entertainment industry spokespeople undermine the necessary trust for something as important as healthcare?
Or, as was achieved with Joe Torre (NY Yankees Manager) as spokesperson for J.H. Cohn, does the spokesperson add just the right amount of consumer interest and admiration needed to make the brand tangible and memorable?
As a marketer, I’m fascinated by the White House’s direction in bringing this brand to market. In fact, the very notion that the U.S. Government is compelled to compete for people’s attention and trust marks the dawn of renewed strategy in marketing leadership for this country. We haven’t born witness to this scale of promotion in decades, most notably when WWII posters directed citizens as to how they could help the country: scrapping metal, carpooling, shutting off lights, preserving food and enrolling in the armed forces.
But the challenges faced in the Affordable Health Care Plan have no tangible enemy. Do the rising costs of healthcare tend to victimize the very people who provide the care, such as doctors and nurses? Instead of attacking a single enemy image such as Osama bin Laden, the agency will have to focus on the symptoms and encourage participation and cooperation for a country teetering under the tremendous weight of exponential cost growth.
Ultimately, the success or failure of the Affordable Care Act will be in its implementation and processes dedicated to cost containment, yet if the marketers have done their due diligence in identifying the pain points to ease the burden of acceptance.
Will a significant investment in the very best marketing and advertising make the difference to success? We marketers like to think so.