SNL's Obama kisses Bieber for HealthCare.gov

What would it take to get 10 million people to sign up on HealthCare.gov in 48 hours? "Saturday Night Live" thinks selfies, cats, and celebrities are the answer.

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Obamacaring too much? Saturday Night Live screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

President Obama has decided to be the chief endorser of the campaign to get young people to sign up for health insurance on HealthCare.gov by March 31.

He's already appeared on "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifianakis, where he insisted he wasn't a nerd because women don't like nerds. He even confronted Ellen Degeneres on her TV show about her taking his retweet crown with a Samsung ad. He used that TV cameo to try and persuade moms to get their kids to sign up for Obamacare.

What's left to get people to sign up for health care? Dancing the Nae Nae with the Pope? Posing with Kim Kardashian? Kissing Justin Bieber? If we're in a "Saturday Night Live" skit, the answer is yes, yes, and yes.

On SNL's opening sketch this weekend, the president's social media expert, Mara, knows what it takes to get another 10 million people to sign up for health care in 48 hours.

First, she has the president, played by Jay Pharoah, pose for Instagram in Pharrell's hat. You know, the one that makes him look like the Arby's logo. Oh, and the president is smoking an e-cigarette.

For Twitter, Kim Kardashian, Harry Styles, and a cat dressed as Princess Elsa from "Frozen," and Batkid are all wheeled in for a photo-op. That's 5 million new sign-ups right there, with 2.5 million due to the cat, no doubt.

How does an aide reassure the president that this is not silly at all? By telling him the very same stories of health care hardship that the president himself uses in speeches.

Dancing the Nae Nae with the Pope is almost obvious. Vine will just explode with that.

I'm not sure SNL got it right with about kissing Justin Bieber, though. True, Bieber as played by Kate McKinnon is even more expressive and entertaining than Bieber played by Bieber. But the young Canadian has endured much bad publicity of late, urinating in hotel kitchen buckets and stepping messily into one sort of altercation or another.

Is this really the sort of person the president -- even one being played by a comedian on SNL -- wants to be seen with, never mind kissing?

In the end, though, marketing to the young is all about fame, virility, and virality. If you can get people to talk about it, you're winning. There is no depth to which you shouldn't stoop.

Of course, you can see why Bieber would participate in such a kissing photo. With Americans petitioning the president to have Bieber deported, getting an inside track cannot hurt.

Still, we'll all be looking at the HealthCare.gov sign-up figures next week to see how SNL's imagined piece of marketing has fared in the real world.

 

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