How Twee Can It Be? Have a Look-See

Nineteen states have created health insurance marketplaces like California as part of the Affordable Care Act, which kicks in October 1.

Half the states are electing to use a federal marketplace where their residents can shop for insurance.

Not all state exchanges are like “Covered California,” the Golden State’s version. 

Consider “Cover Oregon.”

Like California, Cover Oregon is conducting an outreach campaign to encourage residents without coverage to buy some before March 31.

California’s media outreach, conducted in several languages and media, has an $80 million price tag, covered by a one-time federal grant.

Covered Oregon is spending $9.9 million.

In the first phase of its media blitz, Covered California welcomes residents to a “new state of health” in which, according to one TV spot, “those who need financial assistance will get it and nobody will be denied because of a preexisting condition.”

Oregon’s messaging is a bit different.

Different enough that the Washington Post described Cover Oregon’s effort as the “world’s most twee Obamacare marketplace.”

British in origin, “twee” is generally defined as “affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint.”

Cover Oregon’s “Long Live Oregonians” campaign features local songwriters like Laura Gibson and Matt Sheehy strumming and warbling about the “Oregon spirit” and how Oregonians “care for each one — every daughter and son.” Oregon sons and daughters singled out in Gibson’s 60-second ad, in which four cellists accompany her, are loggers, bakers, bankers, teachers, students and “indie rock bands.” Gibson artfully rhymes them.

Sheehy’s ad is equally folksy.

Covered California has yet to use animation in its ads. Cover Oregon does.

Kentucky also uses animation in its introduction to kynect.

Cover Oregon says this about its “by Oregonians, for Oregonians” marketing campaign:

“We were inspired by the song Bonneville Power Administration asked Woody Guthrie to write to help explain how the Bonneville Dam would benefit Oregonians. We decided to only work with local artists–in that way, were able to put dollars back into the Oregon artist community and into a population of people who are traditionally uninsured.”

Here’s one of Guthrie’s Bonneville Dam songs:

Long live Oregonians!


Filed under: News


  1. This post contrasts the dollar figures on California and Oregon’s exchange outreach campaigns ($80m versus $9.9m) in a way making it strongly appear that California’s campaign is much more lavish.

    In fact, California’s population is ten times Oregon’s (in 2012, 38 million versus 3.9 million)? And according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 20% of California’s total population is uninsured, compared to 15% of Oregon’s, which means that calculated on a per-uninsured-person basis, California’s grant is in fact 62% of Oregon’s.

    Free from context, numbers inherently mislead. Please keep this in mind.

    Comment by Minivet — 9.30.2013 @ 12:24 pm

  2. The Oregon is approach is so…”Portlandia.” Twee, indeed.

    Comment by ThinkChick — 9.30.2013 @ 11:10 pm

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