North agency’s Mark Ray notes that since Oliver’s parody, the ad has united conservatives and liberals in a sort of kumbaya of mockery. “Images from our campaign have also recently accompanied scathing reports by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, and pretty much every conservative blog in the known universe,” Ray wrote in his blog on the North.com website.
Oliver’s scorn is unfair — the ad agency had nothing whatsoever to do with the botched online application portal (pricetag $200M+). Of the company’s diverse ad campaign, that spot in particular was intended to connect with mothers, “the primary drivers of health care decisions in the family.” Oliver singled it out from a field of ads because, the HBO host said, it was “violently adorable” — and because it played into a stereotype about Oregonians. Even with no online portal, Oregon is in the middle ranking for state enrollments, which Ray called “Remarkable, given the circumstances, and also a tribute to the tireless efforts of Cover Oregon’s communications and marketing staff.”
“[A]re we, as Mr. Oliver suggests, stupid fucking idiots?” Ray went on to ask, in re Oliver’s parody, which featured Lisa Loeb in a faux ad mocking Ray’s, that included a tune about the “stupid fucking idiots” in Oregon.
“Yes,” Ray said, answering his own question.
“Given the world today, you have to be a stupid fucking idiot to want to help activate a legislation so controversial. You have to be a stupid fucking idiot to suggest a strategy that unites people around a common good before selling them on something as complicated as health insurance. You have to be a stupid fucking idiot to think advertising can actually help improve the quality of people’s lives. But at North, we welcome stupid fucking idiots. And I’d do it all again just the same, proudly.
“Although, next time I’d probably leave the website out of the ads.”
Watch Oliver’s parody of Ray’s ad here: