idea blog

Marketing commentary for better. Or worse.

President Barack Obama has finally hit the big time.

No, just kidding. He was already pretty big.

But — if you’re not familiar with Between Two Ferns — the mock talk-show hosted by comedian Zach Galifianakis — go watch a few episodes. (Now.)

Then get ready to have your mind blown by who shows up as a guest next.

So, why is President Obama appearing on Funny or Die? Before you write it off as a terrible use of presidential time, stop and think for a minute.

Who is Funny or Die’s primary audience?

18-34 year old young men. Or, as they are frequently called, “millennials.”

This is not just funny. It’s great marketing strategy.

Funny or Die, known primarily as a humor site, is increasingly specializing in this kind of marketing, or what we might call “branded entertainment“: soft-sell content that is designed to go viral. (Take, for example this campaign with Pepsi Next. Or Skittles.) Getting the POTUS to pitch on its platform is a huge win for them.

But it’s a win for the Affordable Care Act as well. An opportunity to poke fun at the website’s well-known early flaws, while increasing awareness about the sign-up process among the target audience most impacted by the new law (and most crucial to ensuring its long-term success). Sounds good, right? It’s working.

As President Obama says to Galifianakis, “It’s fair to say that I wouldn’t be with you here today if I didn’t have something to plug.”

Well done, Mr. President. Well done.