9/17/13: Vermont Heath Connect Ad Campaign is Insulting in So Many Ways…

Remember back when proponents of Vermont’s version of health reform – a twisting of the Affordable Care Act today into a launching pad for a statewide single payer system in 2017 – were selling the upside of a government run system? One of the great efficiencies to be gained was there would be no need to waste money on all that corporate, profit driven advertising. Well, this week the state-run Vermont Health Connect launched a $6 million ad campaign. Just to put that in perspective, it is seventeen times the amount of money Peter Shumlin spent on his entire gubernatorial campaign for 2012.

So much for those efficiencies (insult number one)…. But anyone with an ounce of common sense could have told these folks that any time you are launching any new product or service, private or public, you need to advertise it so that people are aware of what’s available, otherwise people will be confused. And, according to polls, they are confused. This is why the Vermont Health Connect TV ad is so maddening.

Here’s what it says over images of kids and moms and firefighters, etc. all shot in gauzy slow motion:

MALE VOICE OVER: This is for the thrill seekers and the caretakers. For the early risers and the up-all-nighters. For the ones who push themselves and each other. They’re the makers and the savers. The hard hands and the warm smiles. For everyone who makes Vermont Vermont, this is for you. A new way to find a health plan. Vermont Health Connect. It’s for Vermonters by Vermonters. (Check it out if you like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yulTgIUERo4)

Now, the notion that this thing, funded with hundreds of millions of dollars of federal money and promoted largely by activist dollars pouring in from out of state while in-state support has never been able to crack 50% in the polls, is “by Vermonters for Vermonters,” is laughable. But, putting that aside, here’s a question for you: Did that very expensive TV ad teach you ANYTHING about what Vermont Health Connect is or does? Who it applies to or when it takes effect? When you have to sign up? Did it clear up any confusion? It is about as enlightening as one of those absurd drug commercials where they’re not allowed to say what the drug is — twenty-five seconds of a woman running through a wheat field followed by a suggestion to, “ask your doctor about <whatever> today!’ But, this ad doesn’t even give that much guidance!

With 100,000 Vermonters two weeks away from having their healthcare world turned upside down by this program, its government managers kicked things off with a useless, high-priced, aren’t-we-great, ego trip of an ad. (Insult number two. Or are we on three or four?)

Then, there’s this on-line Vermont Health Connect Story Book. This is designed to take people through the process of understanding what Vermont Health Connect is and how to use it. Good. Simplicity is good, but the one thing comes through most clear from this Storybook is the fact that the creators of Vermont Health Connect view Vermonters as a bunch of five year olds morons. The pictures say it all:

Storybook Screet one

Storybook Screen

Vermont Health Connect: By M&Ms for M&Ms…. Sheesh. What could possibly go wrong?

– Rob Roper

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ned Dubois September 21, 2013 at 11:25 am

It is interesting that ALL visual advertisements are of this nature. They typically assume that the viewer or reader is ignorant, and has no ability to handle facts and figures. I’m pretty much insulted by every add I ever look at and have come to the conclusion that the people who make them must be the ones who couldn’t handle logical problems in school, be it grade school or post graduate school.
Any product that is better in some way than another product should be shown to be so with real numbers, not “spun” numbers or facts. It is obvious that the makers of the Vermont Connect material have no idea who their potential customers might be.


James B Hall September 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm

The push to defund/de-activate Obamacare is with merit and certainly should be pursued.However, the Republicans and those who do not support the left-wing plan that would destroy healthcare as we have known it, had better have a plan to promote that IS ACCEPTABLE to the American people and will accomplish what is needed and be affordable and reasonable when the left wing plan collapses of it’s own weight. Leaving Americans with nothing when collapse happens is not an option. The voters will be happy to have an alternative to something that is a coming disaster in the making. Republicans, get to work, now, and come up with an alternative. Out Here.


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