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Paul Bunyan, ox sidekick hired as insurance salesmen in Minnesota

Unemployment BenefitsSportsBarack Obama

Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, now has 10,000 reasons to to get health insurance, too.

At least that's the latest pitch from state officials launching a campaign to enroll about 1 million residents in healthcare coverage when its state-run insurance marketplace goes live Oct. 1.

The state has enlisted Minnesotan folklore icons -- lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his trusty sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox -- as the face of its marketing campaign to promote MNSure, as the state's health exchange is known.

Minnesota and other states, including California, are kicking off efforts to market their health exchanges ahead of the rollout of President Obama's healthcare law. 

“The goal of this campaign is to reach all Minnesotans in a dynamic and memorable way," said April Todd-Malmlov, executive director of MNSure, the state's health insurance exchange, in a statement. "Our research indicates that the message and Paul and Babe resonate with all communities and populations across the state."

Video and billboard spots feature Bunyan suffering humorous accidents that highlight Minnesota's "10,000 reasons to get health insurance." Bunyan hurts himself water skiing in one video and tries his hand at playing soccer in one billboard (Who knew lumberjacks were soccer fans?).

In one radio spot, Bunyan gets into a spat with a beaver who bites him. He's heard calling out to his ox for "a little help." 

The ads will go up on billboards statewide, officials said Monday. 

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ricardo.lopez@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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