If you haven’t watched actor Zach Galifianakis’s “Between Two Ferns” then you’re missing out. “Between Two Ferns” is an internet comedy series that airs on the website Funny or Die and has an average of 7 million views per video. The shows consist of Zach Galifianakis being, well Zach Galifianakis. Best known as the bearded outcast from “The Hangover,” the show revolves around his awkward yet funny sense of humor bringing in tons of traffic, especially from Generations Y and Z. So why does the episode featuring President Obama interest me? Because it’s a feat of marketing ingenuity and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Some would say Obama himself is behind this, but I have my doubts. He’s probably too busy focusing on international relations, troops in the Middle East and the domestic economy to be planning the nitty-gritty of communications. I think the real planner is Teddy Goff, President Obama’s digital director. Working at a Cincinnati-based marketing company, I am always studying the media and what triggers consumers. Generation Y and Z consumers are still a closed book to marketers and finding the best ways to appeal to them can be challenging, especially when trying to market healthcare, something most young Americans don’t think they need. Zach Galifianakis holds great rapport with young adults and definitely holds a humor angle.
So what’s my point?
Obama was able to infiltrate a young adult media hub and effectively make himself and healthcare.gov a viral hit. While President Obama is able to talk about healthcare during the six and a half minute episode, the reason this video went viral was because of the humor and appeal it has to its target audience. Great branding always knows deep down who their target audience is and what their audience will truly enjoy. Now millions of young Americans are sharing this video and as a result millions of Americans are exposed to humor AND healthcare.gov. The combo can be an effective call-to-action but only time will tell. Regardless of who is behind this, Teddy Goff or President Obama, we’ll see if their marketing ingenuity pays off.