SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Two local folk singers, strumming guitars and crooning about the virtues of Oregon, have become the first tool in a $20 million campaign to convince Oregon’s uninsured to buy health insurance.
Musicians Laura Gibson and Matt Sheehy appear in ads that are now on heavy rotation in all of Oregon’s television markets.
The ads are the beginning of an intensifying push to introduce the public to Cover Oregon, the state’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange.
“These ads are what we like to call our ‘hello’ to Oregon,” said Amy Fauver, chief communications officer for Cover Oregon. “It’s really about building awareness of the name Cover Oregon and also generating a positive sentiment. We know that most people have not heard of Cover Oregon.”
The Oregon Legislature created Cover Oregon, known officially as the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange, as a public corporation in 2011. It’s currently funded primarily by hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants but is supposed to eventually be self-sufficient.
The introductory ads feature Gibson and Sheehy singing about Oregon’s iconic landmarks, independent spirit and healthy lifestyle. The two ads now airing will soon be joined by a third featuring Portland-based hip-hop duo Lifesavas, Fauver said.
They hardly mention Cover Oregon nor explain what it is, instead trying to create a positive vibe associating the brand with Oregon’s cultural identity. An educational campaign will follow next month to help people understand what it means for them, Fauver said.