White House now selling ObamaCare by ... tweeting pictures of cuddly animals

And you know what? I bet it’ll help, too. “Idiocracy” isn’t so funny anymore on repeat viewings, is it?

Says Jon Gabriel, “Thanks, BuzzFeed.”

That last one was retweeted by the White House and is sitting at the top of their feed as I write this. “But wait,” you say. “Who’s behind this mysterious ‘Adorable Care Act’ account that the White House seems to like so much?” Good question. The New York Daily News and the Atlantic wondered the same thing, but so far no one knows who’s running it and HHS’s communications team hasn’t returned requests for comment. (OFA did return a request and swears it’s not them.) To my eye, the all-caps font above looks like the same one used in the White House’s own ObamaCare promos. If some random supporter is doing this, they’re taking care to dot their i’s and cross their t’s to make it look like an official production.

And if O’s team *is* behind it, they probably have a good reason why. I used to laugh at dopey panders like this, but not anymore:

One fascination in a presidential race mostly bereft of intrigue was the strange, incessant, and weirdly overfamiliar e-mails that emanated from the Obama campaign. Anyone who shared an address with the campaign soon started receiving messages from Barack Obama with subject lines such as “Join me for dinner?” “It’s officially over,” “It doesn’t have to be this way,” or just “Wow.” Jon Stewart mocked them on the Daily Show. The women’s website the Hairpin likened them to notes from a stalker.

But they worked. Most of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising e-mails. During the campaign, Obama’s staff wouldn’t answer questions about them or the alchemy that made them so successful. Now, with the election over, they’re opening the black box…

It quickly became clear that a casual tone was usually most effective. “The subject lines that worked best were things you might see in your in-box from other people,” Fallsgraff says. “ ‘Hey’ was probably the best one we had over the duration.” Another blockbuster in June simply read, “I will be outspent.” According to testing data shared with Bloomberg Businessweek, that outperformed 17 other variants and raised more than $2.6 million.

In keeping with the campaign’s interest in behavioral science to give it a leg up on Romney, they tested dozens of dumb subject headers like “Hey” on focus groups to see which ones generated the most interest. The cuddly-animal approach may be so silly that the White House would prefer not to take formal ownership of it, but if they’re running this, rest assured that it’s been tested for effectiveness too. Although you really don’t need science to understand why, if your chief concern is getting young adults to buy insurance, a series of instantly viral BuzzFeed-esque pics of fuzzy bunnies touting the rollout of the exchanges next week is a few Photoshop hours well spent.

Presumably they’re saving up the cat GIFs for launch day, to really make an impression. Just think — if “sad panda” had been deployed a few weeks ago for the Syria attack, Assad might be dead by now. Exit quotation:


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