Bemidji mayor offended by how state's new MNSure ads portray Paul Bunyan as a "doofus"

paulbunyanMNSure.jpeg
The state's suggestion that Bunyan is not only mortal but also clumsy doesn't sit well with Bemidji officials.
-- Update at bottom --

From the Taking Yourself Too Seriously files:

Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht is offended by how the state's new MNSure health exchange ads have fun with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, two Minnesota folk heroes that are closely associated with their huge roadside statues in Bemidji.

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What exactly does she find offensive, you might ask? Nothing more than the mere suggestion that Paul is a bit clumsy and prone to accidents that require a trip to the hospital.

BBDO Proximity, the local ad agency that put together the campaign, considered three celebrity candidates as possible stars of the MNSure spots. Ultimately, they concluded Paul and Babe "resonated with people in six regions around the state" in a way the other contenders didn't, the Star Tribune reports.

Here are a couple of images from the campaign, which is intended to make Minnesotans aware of the new service that allows those in the market for health care insurance to compare coverage options and providers via an online database:

bunyan1.jpg


bunyan2.jpg

In comments made to the Bemidji Pioneer, Mayor Albrecht, asked for her opinion ads like the ones above, said, "I think they're offensive, some of them, and I think they're inappropriate... and I would prefer some of them not be used."

Her sentiments are shared by Lori Paris, president of the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce.

"Paul has been our icon for so many years that you think of that particular Paul, you think of Bemidji," Paris told the Pioneer. "But now when you see him running into a tree and falling over, it just looks foolish I think."

"I think it's a hit to our community image," Paris concluded.

You know what else doesn't help the community image? Media coverage of Bemidji officials' butthurt over how Paul freakin' Bunyan is portrayed in a silly ad campaign.

:::: UPDATE ::::

According to a Pioneer Press report, Mayor Albrecht has already softened her opposition to the ads:
"To have him be a doofus, it doesn't make sense for us," Albrecht said in an interview Monday morning. "We kind of think of Paul as stately and handsome and representing a proud era of timber production in our community."

But by Monday afternoon, Albrecht's message had changed.

"When we first saw (the ads), we thought: What?" she said in a second interview. "But as we thought about it more, we think it's positive that people recognize Paul and Babe as important, and that people like that."
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.



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18 comments
Steve Anderson
Steve Anderson

Sorry, with everything else going on in the world I can't get upset about the slander of mythical personae.

Ange Runnels
Ange Runnels

Does the Bemidji Mayor know that Paul Bunyan wasn't a real person?

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

"At least they still get put in commercials..."- Jolly Green Giant

Jon Marchand
Jon Marchand

Remember when folks got all bent outta shape about the accents in Fargo. Yah. More of the same, then. Geez.

Evan Hanson
Evan Hanson

Offended by this? F'real? This is just some good ol' Minnesota humor.

Dan Johnson
Dan Johnson

More offended, politically correct bullshit. People like this are what is wrong with this country!!

yeah
yeah

oh go fuck yourself mayor you fucking windbag

yeah
yeah

@barbertj23 no, they're not awesome. they're shit. you have horrible taste. 

Onan
Onan

@yeah - What a compelling and well thought out retort.

Please, go on. 

Onan
Onan

@yeah @barbertj23  - "I could care less about mnsure."

How much less can you care??

'"it says mn is the land of 10000 reasons to provide insurance to your employees, but only shows accidents."

Wrong on both counts. The campaign's slogan is "10,00 reasons to get health insurance and one great place to find it" and doesn't mention employers at all (it's geared towards the individual). Also, there are quite a few non-accident scenarios shown in the campaign as well.

yeah
yeah

@barbertj23 No, I am not. I am saying these ads suck and why. I could care less about mnsure. My criticism still stands, regardless of how cute you think paul bunyan is. Also, your last statement about insuring workers and being liable for damages is so stupid it tells me YOU don't understand mnsure at all. 

barbertj23
barbertj23

@yeah

Are you seriously trying to turn this into some political soapbox to stand on about health insurance? 

Political leanings aside, it's an ad selling a very specific service. The imagery is very directed to the market they are targeting in a very approachable and cute way. They make light of accidents and a want for the service they are selling without having a "downer" message. 

Also you should probably insure workers because employers can be liable for damages on their property. 

yeah
yeah

@Onan @yeah it says mn is the land of 10000 reasons to provide insurance to your employees, but only shows accidents. employees have accidents, but why should I insure them??? there is no news here. it is a generic message that could be for any hospital, insurance plan, etc. piss poor concept i say

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