Let's just assume that President Obama had reasons to sit down with Zach Galifianakis on "Between Two Ferns" other than showing the country that he could expertly pull off a fat joke.
Of course, Obama's move to star in one of the internet's longest-running and funniest quasi anti-comedy bits had everything to do with pushing signups for the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges as the signup period dwindles. Americans now have until March 31st to purchase coverage. It's crunch time, and the White House made a calculated decision to reach out to the younger crowd by throwing them an (admittedly pretty funny) elevated sales pitch.
And it looks like it paid off–if the White House's measure of success was simply getting people to the healthcare.gov site.
Time will tell if a sudden boost in signups can be directly attributed to the Funny or Die video, but in terms of a sheer traffic driver, it looks as though the move payed off to the tune of a 40% spike in healthcare.gov visits.
— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) March 11, 2014
— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) March 12, 2014
The video has seen over 12 million views on the Funny or Die site alone, and that figure doesn't include the countless views the video saw on YouTube before Funny or Die removed it.
According to Google data, "healthcare.gov" has seen a spike in searches over the past 24 hours and "Between Two Ferns" is one of the hottest search trends since Tuesday morning.
"I can assure you that the Funny or Die video will be one of the reasons we get young Americans to HealthCare.gov–one of the reasons we get young Americans to enroll in health insurance programs, but not the only one," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Pageviews aren't signups, but it's clear that Obama got people curious when he made mentions of the open enrollment period–you know, between all the Hangover 3 jokes.