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Sex and Booze; Colorado 'Obamacare' Ads Raising Eyebrows

Updated: Thursday, November 14 2013, 10:34 AM EST

CINCINNATI (Derek Drake) -- New ads put out by a Colorado organization promoting the Affordable Care Act are raising eyebrows more than awareness for the new healthcare law.

When the ads surfaced online, many thought they were fake, or satire poking fun at the new law, but the advertisements are legitimately produced by ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI).

Many opponents of the ads say they belittle women and use stereotypes to send a skewed message. Kelly Maher, executive director with with Compass Colorado said, "This ad campaign is desperately trying to distract from the fact that exchange sign-ups have essentially ground to a halt. While nearly a quarter of a million Coloradans have had their plans canceled, ProgressNow Colorado and CCHI are demeaning and belittling women with shallow sexual caricatures and making light of serious women's health issues.

One of the controversial ads shows an excited female holding a package of birth control pills standing next to a smirking male. The ad reads, "Let's get Physical!" But under the headline, a short paragraph continues the woman's suggested internal monologue.

"OMG, he's hot! Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. I got insurance."

Controversial ObamaCare Ad 1

The ad finishes the thought with "Now you can too. Thanks Obamacare!" The ad campaign is playing of the long running 'Got Milk?' campaign using a similar slogan, "Got Insurance?"

Harsha Gangadharbatla, an associate professor of advertising at the University of Colorado at Boulder thought the ads were created by Republicans to poke fun at the healthcare law. "I think it's a strategic mistake," Gangadharbatla told the Denver Post. "Consumers could see it as a joke, making it appear not to be a serious issue. And the issue of health care is clearly a serious issue in the United States. There’s already so many negative headlines and problematic issues out there with roll-out of Obamacare, so why add fuel with ads like these, if the true intent is to enroll more young people."

The associate professor went on to say the ads could be stereotyping 'millennials'.

ProgressNow Colorado is defending the ads, however. Amy Runyon-Harris, the group's executive director, said, "The whole intention of these ads is to raise awareness, and that's what we're doing. It's great that more and more people are talking about it."

Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for CCHI told the New York Post, "“It’s been fun to watch how it all plays out. We’ve seen both positive and negative reactions, but if people are seeing the ads and purchasing health insurance, that’s a good thing.”

Supporters of the healthcare law, but critics of the ads say, with all the issues plaguing the new program and its website there need to be more positive focused attention, rather than negative.

See more of the ads from the group below. Head over to our Facebook page and weigh in on this story. We want to know what you think about the ads.

Controversial ObamaCare Ad 2

Controversial ObamaCare Ad 3

Controversial ObamaCare Ad 4

Controversial ObamaCare Ad 5

Controversial ObamaCare Ad 6

Sex and Booze; Colorado 'Obamacare' Ads Raising Eyebrows


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Enrollment for healthcare exchanges as part of healthcare reform begins October 1 in states where exchanges will be set up. Expect special reports each week from us about what you need to know about 'Obamacare' and the ongoing political fight about its future.

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