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Obama Releases the Kraken of Social Media to Sell O-Care: Celebrities

Hollywood figures are being enlisted for a new phase of in the marketing of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, in an elaborate social media campaign and eight-hour January event designed to reach young adults and other targeted groups who lack insurance.

On Thursday, Wilmer Valderrama will be among those participating in an event with Covered California and other state insurance officials to launch a campaign called Tell-A-Friend — Get Covered, with the aim to spark conversations between friends and family members about the benefits of health coverage and the availability of insurance plans on the exchanges.

“Generally, before you buy something, you need to hear about it seven to 10 times,” says Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California.”But the most important place to hear about it is through a friend.”

Celebrities, athletes and other pop culture figures are part of the campaign to spur such discussions, Lee says. The PR firm of Ogilvy has been hired to spearhead much of the campaign. He added that the Hollywood involvement is just one component of the campaign, which also will include such things as short videos from those who have signed up for coverage

Among those also participating in the social media effort are Obama impersonator Iman Crosson, known as “Alphacat,” who is doing a rap web video with the aim of it spreading virally, along with Kal Penn, Tatyana Ali and Fran Drescher sending out messages and videos on platforms line Vine. More names will be introduced to the campaign in the coming weeks, and in the works is an 8-hour live stream event on YouTube on Jan. 16, produced at a web studio in Los Angeles. . .

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