Is this perhaps the best native ad ever? President Barack Obama does an interview with Zach Galifianakis on Zach’s hilarious show Between Two Ferns. For those who have not seen the show before, Between Two Ferns is a web series where Zach interviews celebrities and essentially insults them, criticizes them, and puts them down left and right. What results is a super awkward conversation between Zach and his guest; but it’s also rife with funny awkward silences and banter between Zach and the celebrity. Popular Between Two Ferns episodes include the Oscar Buzz Edition and the Justin Bieber episode.
Why is this relevant to native advertising? Obama’s main objective for his appearance on Between Two Ferns is to encourage young people to sign up for healthcare through the Affordable Care Act. Of course, Zach poked fun at the healthcare.gov website and the president gracefully handled all criticisms. More importantly, isn’t this what native advertising is all about? Even for the president, the goal of this campaign is the same as a big brand appearing authentic in front of millennials. The message had to be consistent with the rest of the show. The tone and theme of the show didn’t change and the president was able to get his message across in an organic way.
Co-producer of Between Two Ferns Scott Aukerman said this to Entertainment Weekly about how they partnered with Obama on this episode:
“The integrity of the process was the same. We didn’t want it to look like a “fake” Ferns episode and, to the White House’s credit, they respected that. They were better than a lot of Hollywood publicists we’ve dealt with!”
In our opinion, the best part of the video was that it did seem like another Between Two Ferns episode up until the very end when you realized that it was a plug for the Affordable Care Act. At that time, you don’t even care that it was a plug. The whole video was entertaining enough that you didn’t care what the president said since the whole interview was true to the way the web series has always been shot. Native wins again!